Bananas.

Q. How stupid are Brexit voters’ reasons for voting Brexit?

A. THIS stupid.



“It was bananas what did it for you?”

Yes, really. Bananas — one straight one — apparently convinced this woman to throw her vote away on an idiotic cause that will now end up shutting Britain off from Europe. She seriously thinks there are “opportunities” out there that the “silly regulations” of the EU are holding Brits back from? Actually, it’s more like silly Brits holding Britain back from opportunities in Europe, but shhhh, don’t tell her that.

And don’t anyone tell her that the “straight banana” rule is just actually just a common-sense rule that the EU formulated to make European standards uniform:

Myth: Curved bananas have been banned by Brussels bureaucrats, with shops ordered not to sell fruit which is too small or abnormally bent.
Sources: The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Express (21 September 1994)

Truth: Yes … and no. Curved bananas have not been banned. In fact, as with the supposed banning of curved cucumbers, the Commission regulation classifies bananas according to quality and size for the sake of easing the trade of bananas internationally.

Quality standards are necessary in order that people buying and ordering bananas can rest assured that what they are getting lives up to their expectations. Individual EU member states have tended to have their own standards, as has the industry (whose standards are often very stringent). The European Commission was asked by the Council of Ministers and the industry to prepare a draft regulation laying down EU quality standards, and this has been the subject of consultation for some time now. As such it represents a consensus position. The following points should be noted however:

1) These are minimal rules, applied solely to green, unripe bananas, rather than those destined for the processing industry.
2) These standards should improve the quality of bananas produced within the Community. They should thus be able to command a higher price in the Community markets. This should also help reduce Community aid and therefore relieve pressure on the Community budget.
3) Far from being an interference in trade these norms should facilitate it throughout the Community

Nothing in there about not being able to buy bananas in whatever shape they happen to be.

And don’t anyone tell her, either, that Boris Johnson, the perambulating haystack who was once lord mayor of London, is behind that “silly regulations” myth. And that he was widely ridiculed for it:

“It is absolutely crazy that the EU is telling us what shape our bananas have got to be,” says Brexit’s foremost cheerleader, Boris Johnson. The former mayor of London, whose mop of blonde hair is as artfully tousled as his facts, was cannily invoking one of the oldest and most persistent mistruths about EU bureaucracy – that it has banned “bendy bananas” from being imported into the U.K.

EU rules do not ban any kind of banana, no matter how straight or curved it may be. What they do, however, is classify the pricing of bananas according to their shape: The best ones must be “free from malformation or abnormal curvature;” the next best can have “slight defects of shape;” and the cheapest or poorest quality can display “defects of shape.” And though this grading scheme might discriminate against a perfectly good but defectively shaped banana, it hardly amounts to a ban.

So, there you go. The EU never said that you weren’t allowed to buy a straight banana, if you happened to come across one in a shop and fancy it for a snack.

I did notice one thing, however: Not once did Boris, or any other Brexiteer, pass out books containing the contested regulations of the European Union and urge people to read for themselves. Probably because doing so would have proved that it was the Brexiteers, and not the EU’s trade regulations, that were truly bananas.

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