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Scottish businesses up in arms over £ billion losses to red tape

Hamish Rutherford reports in the Scotsman that

"Scottish businesses have been burdened with an extra £3.5 billion in red tape and regulation costs since 1998, according to new figures.

The figures from the latest Burdens Barometer, produced by the British Chambers of Commerce, calculate that the cost to UK business of new regulation since 1998 is more than £55bn.

The hardest-hit are the small and midsize businesses which are struggling against a rising tide of regulations from the EU. Ceaseless administrative demands on their time mean, quite bluntly, that they cannot fulfill their purpose to be profitable and pay employees.

A casual reader of EU regulations like myself receives the distinct impression they are mad. They are devised by bureaucrats with no experience in business or fishing or farming or anything, really, but working for a state paycheck. They are obsessed with control, and have not the slightest concept how a free society works, with hundreds of thousands of ingenious decisions being made by free and intelligent and lawful people every day. In short, they have not read Adam Smith, and they have not met the average British businessperson. The anger of Scottish business is very healthy and gives me some hope.

So far the EU has gotten away with its madness because it was making a cut here, another cut there. Now the EU is going for the whole pound of flesh, and businesspeople are waking up with a shout.

Madness has a way of finally attracting our attention. The EU is mad because it has no sense of limits or proportions, and because it is obsessive compulsive and tyrannical. It is mad because it is the prisoner of an ideology and tries to make facts fit its theory of life rather than adjusting its theory to the facts on the ground. You may have known people like this. The EU is mad because improbably and intentionally it cannot see the virtues of freedom or just laws or representative government.

I am very hopeful that the oh-so-polite Brits, who have nodded so vaguely and hopefully about every latest EU scheme to save the environment or make us all secular saints will see that the EU cloaks its despotism in moral uplift, but it is despotism all the same, and it will do what madness and despotism always do, they destroy.