The campaign by generally right leaning pundits to tell their fellow Britons that Brexit will lead us to the proverbial land of milk and honey has recently progressed not necessarily to their advantage. Reality has been increasingly intruding, with the result that, whenever news arrives reminding them that running off from the EU might not be such a good thing, those pundits begin to lose all sense of reason.
One such has been the serially clueless Tim Montgomerie, summoned by broadcasters and other media outlets to dispense his highly suspect wisdom, but who is finding the real world an increasingly challenging place. Monty tuned in to the Radio 4 Today programme this morning and was dismayed to hear the BBC reminding its listeners that other EU member states were looking to cash in on the Brexit jobs exodus.
This did not accord with his wishes, and so he took to Twitter to pontificate “Another BBC report (onR4 Today) on Paris seeking to poach jobs from post-Brexit London. As @andrealeadsom warned, it's looking unpatriotic”. We should have censorship of reality? Chris Deerin, hardly a rabid leftie, responded “It's not unpatriotic in the slightest, Tim. This stuff is happening and it's a threat to our economy. We should ignore it?” Quite.
Richard Lindsay, having a first-hand perspective, also pitched in. “From in the City, it is real & big (tho prob not catastrophic) but [to] describe a news story as ‘unpatriotic’ is spectacularly dim & dangerous”. What say Monty to that? “I'm attacking an imbalance that's damaging to the national interest - sorry if that's difficult to understand”. Who is this “National Interest”? Who decides what that means?
Caroline Williams had an answer to that: “We won't move forward ‘in the national interest’ unless we get truthful reporting - that means the bad Brexit news too Tim”. No point doing like the Murdoch Sun, and lying to the readers on Brexit. Meanwhile, Owen Bennett was concerned at Monty’s direction of travel. “Is this it? Is this the line Brexiteers roll out now when someone flags up something which doesn't match their world view? Dangerous”.
Dead right it is. Didn’t anyone agree with Monty? Only Julia Hartley Dooda, who managed a “look over there” moment with “Very little in that BBC report about why Paris isn't a world class financial capital and why employment & tax laws make [it] unlikely it will be”. La la la, fingers in ears, it’s not happening. Monty liked that: “Indeed, it basically amounted to propaganda for France. The BBC shouldn't be patriotic but shouldn't be unpatriotic either”.
Richard Bentall, blocked by Arron Banks - well done that man - was unimpressed: “Never knew what Johnson meant by ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel’ until Brexit. It is the last refuge when all arguments lost”. And Rupert Myers, also not a screaming leftist, put the lid on Monty’s idiocy: “It's laughable for politicians to question the patriotism of journalists. It's inexcusable for fellow journalists like Tim to do it”.
Montgomerie is not merely clueless, but dangerous, because media outlets whose staff should know better are prepared to give his views a platform. What he is suggesting is nothing short of censoring news that is inconvenient to one side of the Brexit debate. We know where that kind of thing leads. And we’re not going there.
Media outlets must be allowed to report without filtering or interference. That is all.