Saturday, 19 March 2016


There is no Tampon Tax in the Irish Republic. They never put VAT on women's sanitary products, and the EU does not require them to do so.

Rather, it requires that, once VAT has been imposed on something by a member-state, then that member-state can never exempt that thing from VAT.

We acceded with this levy already in place. So we are stuck with forever. Or at least until we leave the EU. 

Unfortunately, the permitted public face of opposition to the EU has been right-wing men, almost all of them late converts to the cause, and who literally cannot bring themselves to mention such unmentionables.

Nor have they any interest in the renationalisation of the railways, a hugely popular and desperately necessary measure.

Again, the EU does not require the privatisation of the railways.

If, as is sometimes claimed, it requires the split between the ownership of the track and the ownership of the trains, then that has, so to speak, passed by every other member-state.

The true fault there lies with the British Radical Right, who are the only people on earth daft enough to have dreamt up that one.

Just as they are the only people who could have devised this week's lunatic programme for reorganising the schools.

The EU does, however, forbid the renationalisation of the railways once they have been privatised.

Thus, any member-state's publicly owned rail company can own our rail service, and they frequently do, overcharging here in order to keep fares low at home. But we are not allowed to have our own such company.

The rail unions have been saying all of this for decades. The RMT has even funded anti-EU lists at the last two rounds of European Elections.

But are the licensed voices of opposition to the EU those of the rail unions? Merely to ask that question answers it.

If the vote is to Remain, then that will be because the people invited to make the case for Leave will have been the Union Jack Waistcoat Brigade that does not in fact disagree with anything that the EU does.

Indeed, that Brigade thought that the whole thing was marvellous. Right up until the fall of Margaret Thatcher.


  1. You'll touch a very raw nerve with those last two paragraphs. Rightly so.