Mark Wadsworth

This is a spare 'blog in case my main 'blog at markwadsworth.blogspot.com isn't working

Reader’s Letter Of The Day

From yesterday’s FT:

Sir, In Screws’ death is final shock horror story (July 8), Matthew Engel states that the News of the World has been walking the fine line between half-truth and lies for 168 years.

That is indeed an acute observation and characterises accurately the kind of reporting employed by the tabloid press when it comes to the European Union. For far too long tabloid papers have been allowed to misreport the EU and the effect of its policies. Newspaper owners and editors, for their own reasons, have gone on misinforming the public with headlines full of myths and sometimes outright lies.

In some cases they have gone as far as to influence government attitudes towards the EU, and the admission from the UK prime minister and the leader of the opposition of the extent to which some papers were allowed to have a stronghold on political classes speaks volumes.

For that reason it is paramount that the inquiry into press industry standards looks, among other things, at the way the press reports on something as important as the UK’s membership of the EU. If we are to clean the press in Britain we may as well rid it of its obsession for euromyths.

Petros Fassoulas, European Movement, London EC1, UK.

Tabloid refers to the paper size, so strictly speaking all English newspapers are now tabloids, except the Telegraph and the FT (IIRC).

Anyway, I quite agree with him, if all newspapers reported accurately what the EU was really like, we’d be out by the end of the year, whether the politicians wish us to stay in or not.* Of course there are good things about the EU, but if it’s 20% good and 80% bad, and we can keep most of the good bits and avoid nearly all the bad bits by leaving (at the small cost of the French trying to impose a few new bad bits on us), well what’s the problem?

* The Ian B theory is that UK politicians in general and Whitehall civil servants in particular absolutely love the UK being a member state of the EU, because they can use the EU as a Trojan horse to impose their own ‘vision’ on the great British public using the excuse that it’s all about EU harmonisation. He’s quite possibly correct, but that’s still an argument for leaving, isn’t it? As he points out himself, we’d be doing all the other member states a huge favour into the bargain. Win-win!

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