It takes a booster seat to get Boris irate on the EU
I would resent this law badly enough as an infringement of my liberty to decide how to convey my own children in my own car. But the main reason why I am so angry is that this stupid and impertinent law was not even generated by the British Government. It wasn't some gentleman in Whitehall who decided he knew best about booster seats. It wasn't even the brainchild of the UK health and safety industry. It is, of course, an EU directive, which means that elected British politicians have been given neither the means nor the opportunity to contest it – or even to debate it.
This EU directive, 2003/20/EC, arises because a few years ago some lonely and bored European Commission official was persuaded (no doubt by the booster seat industry) that in some circumstances children under 135cm would be safer with booster seats.
So a directive was drawn up. Even if any EU government had dared oppose this "child safety" measure, that government could have been simply outvoted – while looking cavalier about the wellbeing of our little ones. The UK therefore apathetically connived in the exercise, and the directive was sent for "scrutiny" before parliament's European Scrutiny Committee.
Needless to say, there was no discussion or "scrutiny", since the huge volume of EU legislation makes this impractical. As it rubber-stamped the directive (and bear in mind that there is no way Parliament, at that or any other stage, could have said no) the committee did ask two questions. How much would these seats cost the average family, and how many lives would be saved?
Four years later, long after this directive has become irreversible, the Government has replied. They don't know how much it will cost, they say, but the measure "might save" the lives of 1.5 children per year. In the whole country.To be fair to the ex-Brussels correspondent, who is more aware of the grave crisis being caused by the EU than he is prepared to let on, he sometimes gets things spot on. His column of 31st August on the NHS inequities between England and Scotland is still clearly making ripples. That piece is linked from here.