Enter the good fairy carrying the banner EU 94/62. The environment industry had been born. In this new industry all you had to do was think up new rules, get them accepted in a place called Brussels (or Strasbourg as it is sometimes known) and lo and behold, jobs began to spring up all around.

You could make the rules or you could modify the rules – and then again you could make up new rules all over again.

But the best job of all was that of the prevaricators. This way you could hold up the whole process for weeks, if not months or even years. You only had to think of a few obtuse ideas – the more obtuse the better – and the whole assembly would have to go into session to decide whether this was a new objection, an old objection or an exciting new objection that no one had thought of before. For this the whole assembly would break into spontaneous applause and hold up the whole process for another six months whilst it looked at it from every angle, recruiting a few more experts along the way to help in its analysis.

Meanwhile, the packaging industry, which had spawned this hydra-headed monster, was sinking into a mire of cost, confusion and – yes – bureaucracy.

A self-fulfilling job creation industry was born, able to live in its own free air and, ultimately, able to free itself from the parent that gave it birth.

Never symbiotic, often parasitic, it now threatens the very existence of the industry from which it arose.