Monday, May 23, 2011

What we know about the way 'EU influence on UK law' stats are used

I've only just listened to this, in which Tim Harford tackles the assertion that "75% of UK law comes from Brussels".

As a summary, his conclusions are....
  1. That the people making that claim are dishonestly taking bits of information out of context to mislead
  2. That the figure is nonsense
  3. That it's largely impossible to arrive at an accurate figure in the first place, but if you did, it would almost certainly be a great deal lower
  4. That it's a stupid question anyway. Paraphrasing, he says "If the UK imposes nine bits of legislation on chewing gum manufacturers concerning packaging and other trivialities, and the EU were to abolish trial-by-jury, would it be of any interest that only 10% of UK legislation originated in Brussels?
One statistical correllation that I'd investigate if I had the time to do it: The likelihood of an organisation that expends a good deal of energy in continually producing misleading and eye-catching statistics that get reported in mid-market tabloids being very keen on referendums.

I reckon that one would be quite high.

1 comment:

CJWilly said...

The sad thing is I've heard europhiles - happlessly trying to increase public interest in EU politics and democracy - parroting this nonsense figure. You can count the Directives!