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Tuesday 13 December 2011

Paranoia Express Arrives

[Update at end of post]

Those pesky Eurocrats are coming to get us! They’re plotting! It’s about threats! And revenge! Whatever. The cheap and nasty Express continues to riff on its theme of jingoistic Europhobia as it thunders “EU Plots Revenge Against Britain”, telling that “Britain last night faced a revenge attack ... senior Brussels bureaucrat ... new deluge of damaging red tape”.

Economics Commissioner Olli Rehn, who has committed the heinous crime of hailing from Finland, is accused of making “further threats”, but these involve no more than scrutiny of the UK’s deficit and debt. But this is enough for Macer Hall to frighten readers with “opening salvo in a new offensive by Brussels chiefs to isolate and bully Britain as punishment”.

Let’s pause for a moment and think this through – something that does not happen in the Express newsroom. Any isolation of the UK happened when Young Dave wielded his veto. The European Commission (EC) and European Parliament (EP) will be fully occupied with matters for several months, and the idea that either would pause just to pass “punishment legislation” is laughable.

Because that is what would have to happen, and it won’t: the Express is just scaremongering. This proceeds as it is revealed that there was “outrage among Tory MPs last night” (another Expresslast night”). Actually only one Tory MP could be found, and it was Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell, who branded Rehn “unelected”, a favourite Carswell smear which he manages not to use for senior Civil Servants.

But give him time. Meanwhile, the Express claims that “EU tax and regulation on the City could cost up to 500,000 jobs”, but does not tell that “up to” includes the figure zero, and that on tax matters – such as the Financial Transaction Tax being suggested – the UK could veto any proposal. So that’s yet more baseless frightening, with Rehn’s more positive comments left to the end.

But there is a talking head from Open Europe, yet another Astroturf lobby group that declines to tell who pays the bills, and nobody is calling them “unelected”. And then there is a churned pensions survey to make the EU look yet worse, especially as the reason behind the “regulations” being discussed (to do with solvency rules – you know, making sure financial institutions don’t go bust) gets missed out.

After reading this piece, the only conclusion that can be reached is that there are no “plots”, no genuine “threats”, no “punishment”, and that the Express is just barrel scraping in order to keep readers on side by churning over cheap copy.

And we know what that means: another Benchmark Of Excellence.

[UPDATE 14 December 1000 hours: Macer Hall has excreted another steaming pile today as he thunders "Eurocrats Demand Britain Be Stripped Of Cash In Revenge", although the only "Eurocrat" quoted is one French MEP. It's most revealing that British MEPs are MEPs, while those committing the crime of talking foreign are "Eurocrats". Those wanting a good laugh can scroll down to the comments and see that the Express attracts a particularly incoherent strand of Europhobia]

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