Here we have Lord Stoddart of Swindon asking a Written Question or two. First off:
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of United Kingdom business regulation derives from European Union legislation; what steps they plan to take to reduce future European Union business legislation; and whether they plan to try to repeal any European Union business legislation.The civil servants via Lord Howell replied:
The proportion of planned regulation stemming from the EU between April 2010 and March 2011 accounted for approximately one third of the total volume of regulation. The proportion varies each year.What on earth does that mean? Planned regulation? What about unplanned regulation? What proportion of that comes from the EU? Then again, is this regulation that is directly applicable or requires UK legislation?
My right honourable friend the Prime Minister recently announced three new major policy goals to reduce the regulatory burden originating in Brussels. These are to bring in a one-in, one-out rule for new EU regulations; set a new and tougher target to actually reduce the total regulatory burden over the life of the Commission; and give small businesses-engines of job creation-an exemption from big new regulations.
Then there are those major policy goals. The Boy-King intends to have a one-in, one-out rule for EU regulations. Of course. And he is going to ensure that this somehow, no-one knows how, becomes part of the system of EU legislation. Of course, the Boy-King has absolutely no idea how that system functions and, therefore, can say such silly things.
The same applies for that new and tougher target. As a minimum, does he envisage controlling completely new regulations or those that are simply amendments of and additions to others? Does he mean directly applicable regulations or those that have to be legislated on? Commission or Council regulations?
There are several other questions from Lord Stoddart and each gets a silly answer. Apparently foreign policy, despite our assurances to the colleagues, is decided on the basis of our national interest, but, as ever, we do not know what that is. After all, we still don't know what our national interest is in the Libyan imbroglio.
Finally, Lord Stoddart asked:
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 8 February (WA 46-7, what would be the cost of carrying out a cost-benefit analysis of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union.They weren't buying that either:
Since there is no intention to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of EU membership, the cost of such an analysis is not known.Oh goody. Well, these people had better prepare themselves for some more questions.