Sunday, October 01, 2006

The hidden arm of the law

Outlawed by the EU... age discriminationChristopher Booker notes that a new law comes into force today, making it illegal to discriminate against people because of age.

On Friday, he also observes, the BBC's Today programme carried three long items on it, pointing out the law's many flaws and anomalies – which is probably the first time many listeners were to hear of them.

"Do you remember the great debates on this issue in Parliament?" Booker then asks - rhetorically, of course, because the law was never debated by Parliament. Yet, what we were not told by the Today programme, or Alistair Darling, the "responsible minister" whom it interviewed at length, was that the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 were nodded through under Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act, enacting EC directive 2000/78. Our MPs had no choice in the matter.

Would it not be helpful, suggests Booker, when Today or anyone else goes on about the flood of controversial new laws imposed on us by Brussels, from compulsory booster seats to bogus "recycling" bins, if they gave us a clue as to where they all come from?

For once, Booker is not on his own and later today we are going to look at the increasing number of voices which are calling for "Europe" to be given a higher profile.


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