Friday, 20 May 2011

No EU 'plot' to 'ban' shopping bags

Today's Express reveals the latest EU 'plot' to ban something:

The main headline - that this is a ban on 'shopping bags' - is at least clarified in the sub-head, where it becomes a 'plot to scrap plastic carriers'.

And Dana Gloger's article makes clear

The EU was under fire last night for seeking a ban on plastic shopping bags to fight pollution. Shops in Britain could be outlawed from stocking them, or alternatively there might be a new tax to dramatically reduce their use.

Ah, so the EU isn't actually saying 'ban plastic bags' then?

Here's a tweet from Janez Poto─Źnik, European Commissioner for the Environment:

So a 'public consultation on reducing plastic bags' becomes the latest EU diktat to ban them outright, according to the Express.

The press release makes clear, in its opening paragraph:

The European Commission is asking the public how best to reduce the use of plastic carrier bags. It will ask if charging and taxation would be effective, or if other options such as an EU-level ban on plastic carrier bags would be better. Opinions will also be sought on increasing the visibility of biodegradable packaging products, and boosting the biodegradability requirements for packaging. The web-based consultation runs until August 2011.

And any citizen, organisation, NGO, university public authority or anyone else can fill in the EU's questionnaire (PDF) during the two-and-a-half month consultation period.

'Do you agree that an EU ban on plastic carrier bags is needed?' is included, along with questions about pricing, whether there should be distinctions between biodegradable and other types of plastic bag and even if it is necessary at all for the EU to act on plastic bags at all.

In other words, the EU has not devised a 'plot' to 'ban bags'.

But the comments on the Express' website makes clear that their loyal readers have swallowed their spin on the story completely, including JeffreyB:


  1. This type of stories saddens me to no end. I see no future for you Brits in Europe with this kind of press putting pressure on politicians and that's a very unfortunate thing, in my opinion.

  2. @mht: Sadly, I just fear for the future of the country as a whole, since these gullible morons have the same voting rights as I do.

    One of the flaws of democracy is that ill-informed idiots with no critical thinking skills can vote just as easily as people who understand the issues...

  3. Parenthetically, what's wrong with banning plastic bags anyway? Unless the valiantly waving tatters of a non-degradable plackie bag in a tree has been adopted by Express/Mail-Land as a new British flag, and I didn't know.

  4. It's nothing to do with plastic bags, you can find hundreds of articles with the title EU bans 'insert item here', more often than not nothing has been banned and it's not the EU that's responsible it's just typical express anti-EU propaganda with identical comments from the same xenophobic flag waving nobodies.

  5. I also fear for the future of the country when people hang on the every word of media outlets which print lies. So many anti-EU or anti-minority comments I hear from people are based on total lies, often printed in the papers. Why do they get away with it? If these papers got their way and some extremist nutters got into power then they would be some of the first things to suffer. You can bet that freedom of the press would go out the window pretty quickly.

    Anyway, while I do not see the harm in actually banning or at least forcing a charge for plastic bags, the express does nothing to help that cause. Why can't the people in charge of these papers see that plastic bags are a total waste of resources and are actually an extra cost that the shops incur. The bags are often wasted by people either taking one for things like a mars bar or people taking bags and then throwing them away as soon as they leave the shop.

    Of course shops that do charge are then subjected to abuse in the press and eventually forced to reverse their perfectly acceptable plastic bag policy (WH Smtih trialled a charge but due to people kicking off they scrapped it, ASDA got bad press when they limited the number of bags they handed out, Sainsburys got negative comments about using thinner, cheaper plastic bags in my area). Most of the developed world just accepts that plastic bags are charged for or that they are restricted, so take their own sodding bag. Thanks in part to the backwards, anti-foreign (even if it's a good idea) attitude of our press people here think it's an affront to their human rights to be charged 5p for a bag or to be expected to carry one in their pocket. And yet the papers and the morons complain when shops put up prices...partly to cover the money they waste on bags!

    When did this country let the media control it so much? I really do not see a bright future here unless someone in government stands up and just says its time to ignore the press and just do the job in hand.

  6. Statutory Press Regulation Now

  7. They weren't so annoyed about 'Europe' when the Council of Europe published their report on the dangers of mobile phone 'radiation' last week.

    Also I bet this article isn't in the Irish version of The Express, very difficult to find a plastic bag there.

  8. @mht

    I see no future for you Brits in Europe

    Yay please throw us out! The sooner the better as our ruling elite are too far up Barosso's backside to take us out.

    Whether or not the EC has a mind to ban plastic bags is neither here nor there. The sticking point is that the majority of us don't recognise the EC's authority to even contemplate dictating a policy on plastic bags or anything else for that matter. We didn't elect them; we don't want them; who are they?

  9. @Sean O'Hare

    The thing about the EU is that they are the solution to democracy. No democratically elected politician would ban incandescent light bulbs or stop car insurance companies charging more for men than women - those policies would be so unpopular they'd be out in a flash! But, just like plastic bags, these sorts of things are necessary - we can't keep using plastic bags like we are but no politician has the balls to do anything about it.

    So the EU is a good thing and, whilst we still have the power as a country to remove ourselves from the union if they do anything crazy, I really don't see the problem.

  10. 'The sooner the better as our ruling elite are too far up Barosso's backside to take us out.'

    That's our ruling elite that constantly try and show to the press how they won't be ordered around by the EU huh

    As for us not electing the EU (newsflash - they haven't been called the EC for years), well a fair number of us in this country didn't elect our current government.

  11. Is it not the Express that is campaigning for us to adopt European time?

  12. Depends what one you mean. The English Express wants us to use Central European time, is extremely anti-European and pro-union. The Scottish Express, however, is dead against switching to Central European time, supports the SNP (a left leaning, pro-EU/Euro party which want's to remove Scotland from the UK).

    So one has to question why such a paper is so inconsistent.

    As for the EU, Sean O' Hare has it spot on. The EU has also got the power to prevent our elected governments from going a bit crazy. A lot of what Labour wanted to introduce on our ID cards was illegal under EU laws, so I do like that extra safety net. We have Euro elections every 5 years, which oddly UKIP do well in even though a win for them in Europe would not in any way see our removal from the EU, it would actually make things worse as they would just say NO to everything and cause nothing but headaches for the UK in Brussels.

    An argument I often see against the EU is that it is full of foreigners making decisions for us. 2 things. 1. We are part of it, so we are part of that decision making. 2. If UKIP or another anti-EU party won outright in Brussels and did try to take us out of the EU that way then surely that would be a case of the EU acting against the wishes of the people of the UK, especially if we elected a pro-EU party to Westminster, which is what UKIP claim is the problem with the EU.

  13. @Sean O'Hare: There's nothing undemocratic about it. We elected, and continue to elect, politicians that would prefer Britain to remain in the EU. If people want out that badly there's a clear alternative in the form of UKIP, but, by and large, people don't vote for them. Which would lead me to believe that the majority aren't all that arsed, despite the best efforts of the right-wing press.

  14. Anon,

    Actually to be correct, the SNP are a marginally but pragmatically right of centre party (apart from being nationalist, which is right wing of course). They're pro-EU, but no more so than Labour.
    So the Express is consistently anti-union, it just can't decide which union is worse.


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