Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Flawed Logic of UKIP

One statement that has been repeatedly ejaculated from the mouths of UKIP's most vocal advocates is that of "80% of our laws are now coming from the EU!". It's a "fact" that has been mindlessly parroted by those with a Euro-sceptic bent: a sound-byte designed to enrage the patriotic spirit; to instil a belief that we in the UK have surrendered our national sovereignty and are now cowed and enslaved to the evil bureaucrats of Brussels...

[Aside: if the UK parliament has really been so disempowered, why would UKIP spend so much time, energy and money trying to elect their members into it?]

What is most annoying about this assertion though, is their application of a mathematical operation to non-quantifiable entities.

For instance, if I went shopping and bought a 5kg bag of best British potatoes for £2-50, and then a 50cl bottle of Italian's finest Limoncello for £15, how much of my shopping would be British? On an item by item basis it would be 50%, but going by weight/volume it would be more like 90% British. On the other hand, on the basis of price it would be only 14%. So I can get three different answers, depending on what metric I choose.

And that's on items that can be quantified!

How can you quantify laws? How can you for instance compare a law regulating for efficiency of light bulbs (an evil law from the EU in UKIP's eyes) to the law for marriage equality (a law from the UK - and similarly evil to UKIP)? The whole concept is utterly meaningless.

And besides, if a law is a good one (and I'd argue that both above examples are good), does it matter where it comes from? Surely only a bigot would think so...

And I'm certainly not going to turn my back on a good bottle of Limoncello just because it's not home-grown! Now pass me a glass...