Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The BBC And The EU

I didn't get a chance to blog about this nauseating article in the Daily Mail yesterday by John Humphreys (I did leave a comment on the site, but it's yet to be published. For some reason the Mail is the hardest newspaper to get comments passed its moderators).

Clearly an attempt to defend the BBC's clearly pro-EU stance, one wonders if anything similar would've been written at all, by a BBC presenter, if it were not for the Greek crisis. Rather like climategate, suddenly there's a panic of; "damn, not everything is as rosy in our left-wing nirvana as we had hoped".

Biased BBC however has a fine critique of the article here:
...[Humphreys] claims disingenuously that it was Margaret Thatcher who signed the Single European Act in 1986, thereby paving the way for "ever closer union". His point here is clearly ludicrously contrived to suggest that everyone, including Mrs Thatcher, supported the expansion of the EU; thus the BBC was right in giving weight in its coverage towards that process.

What he fails to mention, of course, is the bull elephant in the room; that Margaret Thatcher almost immediately regretted that signing, and it gave birth in subsequent years to the powerful growth of the current eurosceptic movement (in the country at large as well as among the Westminster elite) which the BBC has disgracefully under-reported and ignored (again as pointed out by the Wilson report), while characterising those who dislike the process of integration, as left-wing nutters.
Absolutely right, The signing of the Act was the pivotal moment which began the path to Thatcher's downfall four years later. The issue of Europe and Thatcher's stance on it completely split her party (from which it has never truly recovered) and was the single main issue that led to her being toppled, most notably by Geoffry Howe. Given that the BBC probably had champagne out at the time, it's odd that they don't make more of it. B-BBC continues:
...he claims in his preposterous analysis that eurosceptics might finally be proved right by the pressures on the euro triggered by the recent financial problems in Greece. But why on earth has he only woken up to this now? When the euro was launched, almost a decade ago, Today devoted an entire programme to a virtually unqualified eulogy supporting its importance. In the intervening years, the programme has massively under-reported, ignored or ridiculed those who have warned that the vile currency is a Trojan Horse; another wedge designed principally to further more integration and to isolate those who oppose it.
Interesting the contrast now. If you confined yourself to just BBC news and nothing else you would largely be unaware there was problem in the Euro.

Virtually everyday there are news items which the BBC ignores the EU element. Today's example? Here:

A review of the drink-drive limit being published later is expected to recommend that it be nearly halved.

It is expected to say that more than 150 lives a year could be saved by cutting the current limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg.

Changing the limit, which has been in place since 1967, would give the UK one of the toughest regimes in Europe.

However the review was commissioned by Labour and it is not certain that the new government will adopt its findings.

What is not mentioned is this from Richard North:
This is an EU initiative. It goes right back to May 2004 when the EU decided it wanted common drink-driving limits. Only, instead of coming out in the open, it is pushing for each member state "voluntarily" to impose harmonised standards, and only then will it issue a Directive, claiming that this is simply to regularise a position that already exists.

The EU commission is well-aware that bringing out a harmonising Directive at this stage would trigger a huge wave of protest and anti-EU sentiment, so it is working behind the scenes, with a threat that, unless the member states comply "voluntarily" it will push for a new law.
It will be interesting to see as the Tories didn't commission the report, whether they ignore it. If they don't, we'll know the reason why.

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