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Friday 20 January 2012

Brainwashing On The Ranting Express

Not wanting to let its latest non-existent Euro shock horror go to waste, the Express has sent frothing pundit Leo McKinstry over the top to do battle with the dastardly propaganda of the loathed “Eurocrats”. In a piece titled “EU Determined To Brainwash Us Into Euro Federalism”, he unloads on anyone giving away brightly coloured pencil cases.

At the outset, McKinstry establishes the essential parallel: linking the EU to the formative Soviet Union in the days following the October Revolution. Given that the latter was another example of the kicking in of the rotten door after the last Tsar abdicated, and the former a steady building on the foundations of the 1957 Treaty Of Rome, this is clearly baloney.

But this thought is not allowed to enter as the EU is dismissed as “corrupt” and “undemocratic”. That’ll be why there is the Court of Auditors and elections to the European Parliament (EP) every five years (and no “going early” for political advantage, as is allowed in the UK), then. Never mind, though, Leo has established that the Soviet Union and EU both involve “brainwashing”.

So readers are told that “the office of the European Commission in London has explicitly stated that the aim of its work in British schools is to indoctrinate pupils”, although it hasn’t. Never mind, though, Leo is off and riffing: “sinister language ... pencil cases bearing its logo ... unelected cabal ... barrage of propaganda ... arsenal of misinformation ... insidious propaganda”.

Readers are told that “According to one estimate the EU now spends an incredible £2.4billion a year on propaganda, more than the annual marketing budget of global giant Coca-Cola”. Actually, Open Europe, hardly an unbiased or disinterested source itself, alleged that €2.4 billion (that’s £2.0 billion) was the figure (that for Coca-Cola advertising in 2010 amounted to $2.9 billion).

But there is one problem with the €2.4 billion figure: the “research” was partly carried out by Lee Rotherham, now a “research fellow” of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), and Zelo Street regulars will need no reminding of his dodgy dossier” on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which was largely fictitious, with no citation given for any of the figures quoted.

In fact, the Open Europe “research takes the whole cost of anything that includes the provision of information, creatively re-tells that this is “propaganda”, and thus gets its €2.4 billion figure. It is entirely predictable, and characteristic of Rotherham the master charlatan. Leo McKinstry is not required to stop and think, and so he does not, and the misinformation is quoted as fact to bolster the ranting.

Which begs the question: who is brainwashing who here?

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