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Sunday 21 August 2011

Europe – Frightening The Readers

Just to underscore the tactic of the Daily Mail, that headlines are written and copy is then written to fit them – with or without facts in support – come more anti-EU frighteners telling readers that Brussels, or France and Germany, or someone foreign, is going to raid the UK for billions of pounds, or possibly tens of billions, over an unspecified period.

Key to this unfolding, and largely fictitious, story is the Mail’s deputy Political Editor Tim Shipman, whose grand title merely qualifies him as another stooge in the efforts of his legendarily foul mouthed editor to stiffen the anti-EU resolve of his loyal readers. Shipman has authored, or co-authored, three increasingly hysterical pieces in the past week on community goings-on.

First came an article co-authored with Rob Davies on the 17th, telling “Paris and Berlin launch a coup to control Eurozone, demanding rights to dictate economic policy”. Sadly, this was undermined by asserting “The 17 countries in the single currency will be ordered to balance their budgets by 2012”. That’s next year, chaps. They haven’t been ordered. And they won’t be.

As an aside to that piece was a line about a financial transaction tax (FTT, aka Tobin Tax), which Shipman and his fellow Mail hacks might find a useful stick with which to beat the EU if only it were a serious proposal, rather than one where the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands were already opposed, with other EU member states less than totally supportive.

This minor consideration, though, did not deter Shipman, who by Thursday was clearly under orders from Dacre to crank up the demonisation machine, bringing Mail readers “Sarkozy and Merkel plot £13bn tax raid on the UK to save Euro”. In support, the Mail cited the Adam Smith Institute, a museum of outdated economic thought which has fraudulently appropriated the name of the founder of economics.

But by Saturday, the numbers had become really scary, as Shipman authored “Britain faces £50bn bill under Brussels tax raid to bail out Euro”. This time, the favoured citation was from Open Europe, an anti-EU body that does not want the UK to leave the EU, mainly because that would remove the reason for their existence.

The reality is that an FTT covering part or all of the EU has never been any more than a proposal, and then by few of the member states. It would not succeed, not even of it could be pushed through by Qualified Majority Voting (QMV). The Daily Mail pieces are no more than scaremongering drivel, which tell us more about Tim Shipman’s lack of control over his by-line than any wider issue.

Still, it’s good money taking the Dacre shilling, so that’s all right, then.

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