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Monday 9 May 2011

Express – Three Weeks Late

Nothing, but nothing, should surprise anyone when the subject is the EU, the medium through which it is viewed is the Daily Express, and the author is our old friend Macer Hall, for whom “fury erupted last night” must be the default beginning for any story on this subject.

Today brought the latest instalment: “EU Wastes £12BN On Arab Aid” screamed the headline. Who wasted it? Silly question! “Eurocrats”, of course, the money being “squandered” on “failed overseas aid projects” over the past fifteen years. And it all happened last night. We know this as the phrase gets used twice in the otherwise mercifully short piece.

So who brings this news? It’s in “a report, published by the Eurosceptic think-tank Open Europe”. And to cap it all, all this spending was “doing nothing to help the ‘Arab Spring’ series of revolts this year”.

Sad to say, most of this is well into Gerald Ratner territory. Let’s leave the screaming hyperbole for a moment and look at some of those dull old facts.

First, anything done over the past 15 years has little chance of helping the ‘Arab Spring’, barring the acquisition of a Tardis.

Second, the Open Europe report does not go back fifteen years. The earliest date mentioned is 2000.

Third, the Open Europe report does not say that £12 Billion, or indeed any other amount, has been “wasted on Arab Aid”.

Fourth, that report from Open Europe was published on April 17 last. That means that it’s taken ace hack Macer Hall more than three weeks to find out about it.

More than three weeks late, and still can’t get the facts straight? That’ll be another Benchmark of Excellence.

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