Job losses are agreed by most of the Fourth Estate to be A Bad Thing. So when steel maker Tata (formerly Corus) announced a total of 1500 job cuts this week – 1200 at Scunthorpe, and 300 on Teesside – the reportage was suitably downbeat, except at the Express, where it was taken as a cue for more EU bashing.
“EU Push For Green Energy Costs Another 1,500 Jobs” screamed the headline in today’s paper, the Express characteristically getting the story out a day after the Daily Mail and Guardian. There could be no doubt where the Desmond press laid the blame for the job losses: “climate change legislation required by Brussels”.
But not even the anti-EU Daily Mail goes with that (although it can’t resist reminding us that Tata is “Indian”), quoting one manager as saying “we will be taking out of production some highly energy-intensive plant that is pretty much obsolete in today’s steelmaking world”. Moreover, demand for the finished product isn’t there: “Some of our key markets are not forecast to fully recover ... for a number of years”.True, all three papers quote the CEO of Tata Steel in Europe as saying “EU carbon legislation threatens to impose huge additional costs on the steel industry”, but this refers to potential future costs, not today’s market conditions. In any case, the Express gives the game away by fielding a UKIP MEP to dispense an industrial sized portion of pejorative anti-EU language.
Civitas HQ ... looks familiar
But then a more subtle tone enters: the Express now quotes an “Independent report” in support of its line. This report, actually more than a year old, comes from a body called Civitas, which certainly claims to be independent. But a cursory inspection of their background does not take long to show otherwise.
Civitas is headed by David G Green, formerly of the IEA, not known for its softy leftism. Editorial Director Robert Whelan is also ex-IEA. The trustees include Kenneth Minogue of Bruges Group fame, and its Academic Advisory Council includes Tim Congdon, UKIP follower and chair of the Freedom Association.Even the Maily Telegraph concedes that Civitas is “right of centre”. And the group manages to share an address with the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance: both are based at 55 Tufton Street, SW1.