Two things we know to be true. Boris Johnson likes to wave irrelevant props around (alas, poor brick) during speeches. And Boris Johnson can be a stranger to the truth.
It’s a format that reached its zenith at the last of the Tory leadership hustings this week, when our wannabe prime minister brandished a smoked kipper and began ranting about EU regulation.
“This kipper, which has been presented to me just now by an editor of a national newspaper, who received it from a kipper smoker in the Isle of Man, who is utterly furious, because after decades of sending kippers like this through the post, he has had his costs massively increased by Brussels bureaucrats who have insisted that each kipper must be accompanied by this, a plastic ice pillow. Pointless, expensive, environmentally damaging, ‘elf and safety, ladies and gentleman,” he told a chuckling crowd.
“When we come out, therefore, we will not only be able to take back control of our regulatory framework, end this damaging regulatory overkill, but we will also be able to do things to boost Britain’s economy.”
Boris Johnson waves around a kipper
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) July 17, 2019
It could’ve been the perfect stunt, were it not for the inconvenient truth that the Isle of Man is not in the EU, and is not included within the scope of the UK’s EU membership, and the rules Johnson was referring to were set by Britain.
It is the UK government that says food needing refrigerating must be kept cool, with an insulated box, bag or coolant gel, when being transported in the post to the consumer.
The Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent has been on the story, and concludes:
So to sum up. There are no EU food safety rules on smoked fish which mean a smoked kipper salesman needs to stick an ice pillow in his fish when he pops it in the post.
But there are British food safety rules that do.
— James Crisp (@JamesCrisp6) July 18, 2019
A fishy story for a photo op that stinks.