Only in the EU could something be illegally legal
Over the years, I must’ve thought, a thousand times, ‘if a, b, or c isn’t available easily everywhere, what is the point of having a European Union?’ Because surely, this is Europe without a unified anything; which I seem to recall being the situation we had before the EU, minus only the billions of Pounds a year in taxes. And as the only advantage I can see at all in the EU is some things being the same wherever you are – for any European citizen – then I mean WHAT IS THE POINT, SYBIL?
It appeals to my ironic sense of the ridiculous that the one thing they have standardised is the means of international travel itself – the passport. Everything else – legal systems, medicare, social welfare, taxation and transport rules – are completely different wherever one goes.
Ah. You’ve spotted the somewhat random ‘transport rules’ in there. The UK’s DVLA insists that one must have a valid MOT certificate of vehicle roadworthiness, otherwise all insurance is invalid. The only way in the EU you can have the vehicle examined at a garage for an MOT certificate is by going back to the UK.
On going back to the UK if the MOT has expired (by doing that you will be driving without insurance and thus illegally) you must ‘proceed immediately to the nearest MOT-service garage’ (by doing which you will also be illegal) and get the MOT done. But if you do all this without being caught, everything will be tickerty-boo. Except that if you have an accident and someone is killed, you are very deep indeed in the doo-doo quicksand place.
Only bureaucrats think in this manner. If you spend a lot of time driving around in the European Union (as many folks do these days, if only to look for work or – oddly enough – to do business) and you find yourself 1,434 miles away in southern Spain with the MOT running out….well, the only way to renew it is to drive all of them back home illegally. But if you get an MOT afterwards without being caught, you’re innocent unless shown previously to be guilty. Which is not really meant to be what the law is about, unless you’re a wealthy tax evader of course.
The reason nothing of any value (but everything pointless) is standardised in the EU is because if it was, we could fire 80+% of the bureaucrats. And as everyone from George Osborne to the Troika has painfully discovered of late, that just doesn’t happen. Ever.
“Ha – but the currency is the same everywhere!” a smiling Italian suggested to me yesterday. Well, yes and no: yes, it is the same in 19 out of 27 countries, and no it’s not a good thing that it’s the same in those 19 countries, because northern Europe is nothing like southern Europe – thank God – so the last thing that should be standardised is the currency…to ensure you can devalue or revalue it as necessary in each country. Which is why the euro is now a basket-case.
So in summary, only two things of any importance are standardised in the EU: the thing they said we could throw away when the EU was eventually formed (the passport) and the thing that should not be standardised anyway in a multicultural Union (the currency).
As they say in Greece, “Of course”.