If there is one area where the EU excels, it's in producing standards.
There are standards now for just about every aspect of life, from food through to the buildings we live in. Everything seems to have to conform to some fucking EU standard or other, which just makes life more tricky and expensive.
To confuse matters even further, they keep changing those standards, invariably making them more rigorous and therefore more difficult to achieve.
There is a big hoo-hah here at the moment because Irish beaches have passed the new EU safety standards. So fucking what? The beaches were safe enough to swim at under the old standards so why get into a tizzy over passing the new ones? It's like there was some crazy competition or something.
In the Good Old Days there were no standards. I remember the glory days where people would swim at the Forty Foot in Sandycove where is was not uncommon to find the odd turd bobbing around in the waves. In fact swimming at the Forty Foot was colloquially referred to as "going through the motions". Probably a few people came down with a bug or two but generally, if the water wasn't too savoury on the day then people just didn't swim.
How times have changed.
I saw a poll on the subject of the new swimming standards. Naturally I cast my vote [I don’t swim, but I like to vote just to confuse the polls]. The results saddened me. A whopping 66% wouldn't dare swim if the beach didn't meet the new standards. Do these people know what the standards are? Do they know what the old standards were? Of course not but the mere mention of EU safety standards has them running for the bunkers. They seem to think that somehow the standard marks the absolute demarcation point between "perfectly safe" and "absolutely lethal".
The sad thing is that it shows how far people have gone down the road of relying on others to do their thinking for them. Something doesn't meet an arbitrary standard set by some overpaid twat in Brussels so therefore it is de facto deadly.
If standards are so fucking important, how come I have to bring a plug adaptor any time I go to France?