Ignore the sensationalism, understand the real issue

A senior EU official has caused outrage by appearing to suggest that the national flags of member states should be dropped in favour of the EU design of a circle of stars on a blue background, the Mail on Sunday informs readers.  The MoS thinks there’s a story here, but being part of the mainstream media it manages to spectacularly miss the real issue and instead focus on a tiny element of a much wider and more significant problem.

The paper tells readers that:

Christine Roger, the communications director of the European Council, the EU’s governing body, made her comments in a speech to 650 ‘spin doctors’ from local authorities across Europe, including the UK.   She called for a new, dedicated public-relations budget to help ‘sell’ the EU as a ‘brand’ to its increasingly disenchanted citizens.

Before going on to add:

In her speech, a copy of which has been seen by The Mail on Sunday, Ms Roger – a veteran Brussels apparatchik – posed a series of leading questions, including how Europe should be defined. ‘Are we talking about a state-to-be? About a federation?’ she asked.

For good measure the MoS then trotted off to get some quotes from Nigel Farage, who duly obliged by prattling on about flags, the trampling of national identities and the waste of taxpayers’ money, suggesting he clearly only a faint idea what had been discussed and what the real concern is.  Once again the MSM has failed the public and the blogosphere has to step up to spell things out.

It is time to put the witless sensationalism into proper context, then hopefully get some people to sit up and understand the real story here.

Context first…  The ‘speech’ was actually nothing more than one part of a workshop presentation (Workshop I on page 15) delivered as part of EuroPCom 2011, which is organised by the Committee of the Regions.  The workshop was running at the same time as three others, the titles of which are altogether more concerning: ‘Citizen Journalism, opportunity or threat’; ‘Connecting with young people through social networks’; and ‘Outside the Brussels bubble: Europe going local’.

Also, the only thing the MoS would have seen of Ms Roger’s ‘speech’ was a PDF document of slides she used in her presentation.  It’s not just the MoS which has access to a copy, anyone can see it by clicking on the appropriate link.

Now the real story…  EuroPCom 2011, like its forerunner, EuroPCom 2010, is a concerted effort to spread EU propaganda via the national and local media in member states, using public servants on the government and local government payroll to wage a spin campaign from withing government departments, City Halls and Town Halls.  The attendance of many of the participants has been made possible only because our money has been spent to send them to the two day conference.

A measure of how deeply rooted the EU propagandists are in our public bodies can be gained by looking at some of the UK based speakers at the event, who included Nick Jones, the Head of Digital for the Prime Minister’s Office & Cabinet Office; Geoff Meade, Europe Editor of the Press Association; Gyorgy Szondi, Senior Lecturer in Public Relations at the Leeds Business School; Tony Halmos, Director of Public Relations at the City of London; Carl Holloway, Senior Communications Officer at Preston City Council (pictured).

While the Committee of the Regions spins that the total cost of putting on EuroPCom 2011 was around €50,000 (£43,000) for  a two-day event bringing together 75 speakers and 650 participants, that does not tell us how much public money might have been spent by participants on the registration fee, travel, accomodation and subsistence in order to attend.

The aim of EuroPCom is to push a positive vision of the EU at local level in member states.  The real targets are local authorities and regional public entities, the so called decentralised bodies, which send out their free (taxpayer funded) newspapers and issue press releases to local papers.  With that in mind, one wonders how many Councillors will know if Council staff from their authority have attended and if public funds have been used, and how many residents in cities and local boroughs would feel happy with their Council Tax pounds being used for such a purpose.

The real issue is what EuroPCom symbolises.  It is not just the naked propaganda effort and talk of replacing national flags with the EU dishcloth, but the lack of democratic oversight and direct accountability in our boroughs.  That is the point missed by the Mail on Sunday and Nigel Farage.  That is the point that needs to be understood by residents in towns and cities across this country.

So once again blogs like this one will have to do for free the work the MSM journalists are so lavishly paid for, but consistently fail to do. While EuroPCom speakers have considered how social media can be used to advance the European project, so we EU opponents can make use of social media to expose once again how taxpayers across Europe are being compelled to fund their own brainwashing.

A Freedom of Information request has been submitted in an effort to identify which UK local authorities and public bodies had employees at EuroPCom 2011.  From there we will attempt to discover whether public funds have been used to register and send participants to Brussels for the workshops, and if so, how much.  Then where applicable we will try to find out who took the decision to authorise that spending on enhancing local EU propaganda and see which of those people are accountable to the public they are supposed to serve.

It will take some weeks, but watch this space.

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11 Responses to “Ignore the sensationalism, understand the real issue”


  1. 1 WitteringsfromWitney 06/11/2011 at 12:03 pm

    Ah, The Committee of the Regions…… Nuff said, really. Bloody good article AM, have retweeted.

  2. 2 Steve M 06/11/2011 at 12:53 pm

    And I have little doubt that there’ll be a fair smattering of Common Purpose graduates in attendance.

    Basically, a propaganda dissemination workshop, then.

  3. 3 Bill 06/11/2011 at 1:08 pm

    But what is the point?
    Assuming you can identify every single attendee (here is a page with the 2010 attendees (http://213.251.171.80/en/community/conversation/list-participants-europcom-2010) and you identify the average cost to the public purse for every council official on that list WHO amongst the vast numbers of people on these islands will even care that the EuroPCom 2011 meeting was on?

    The people of these islands have consented to the party state system to ‘look out for them’ in exchange for a vote. The silent majority couldn’t give a flying (insert expletive) about such things.
    Most won’t reads the MOS, even fewer will read this blog sadly and you do have to wonder why this story made or indeed any story made it into the MSM today.
    The MSM are the propaganda arm of the party state. If they weren’t they would have gone out of business long ago.

    Sorry AM but some days I despair at my own lack of action over the years to prevent these vile aliens from taking over the land on which I live and treating anyone outside of their world as cattle.

  4. 4 Bill 06/11/2011 at 1:20 pm

    From Wikipedia
    Propaganda, the coordinated attempt to influence public opinion through the use of media, was skillfully used by the NSDAP in the years leading up to and during Adolf Hitler’s leadership of Germany (1933–1945). National Socialist propaganda provided a crucial instrument for acquiring and maintaining power, and for the implementation of their policies, including the pursuit of total war and the extermination of millions of people in the Holocaust.
    The pervasive use of propaganda by the Nazis is largely responsible for the word “propaganda” itself acquiring its present negative connotations.[1]

    A definition that is equally applicable to this;-

    EuroPCom 2011 – “Share (y)our voice”

    Workshop A: Country, region and city branding: just a matter of communication?

    Workshop B: The relevance of traditional media relations

    Workshop C: Social media: Networking with your citizens

    Workshop D: Communicating Europe in times of confidence crisis

    Workshop E: Regional branding: Experiences in strategic identity

    Workshop F: Make yourself heard abroad: International media relations

    Workshop G: Monitoring and managing your online reputation

    Workshop H: Communicating Europe in partnership with networks and associations

    Workshop I: Europe as a brand

    Workshop J: Citizen journalism, an opportunity or a threat?

    Workshop K: Connecting with young people through social networks

    Workshop L: Outside the Brussels Bubble: Europe going local

  5. 5 Autonomous Mind 06/11/2011 at 1:26 pm

    The point is some people might finally be spurred into action and stand against those in local government who are facilitating or allowing the EU propaganda effort.

    If we do nothing then it continues unchecked. Surely we have a duty to try and hold these people to account and make more people aware of what is being done by their supposed servants.

    Would you prefer we just gave up, surrendered and let them get on with it – abusing our money and dismantling democracy piece at a time?

  6. 6 Steve M 06/11/2011 at 3:07 pm

    @Bill: AM has shone a spotlight on yet another insidious and sinister aspect of the EU propaganda machine. I, for one, am grateful for it.

    Respectfully, I have no idea where you’re coming from, politically or ideologically, from your posts :-/

    In ‘the West’, we deride regimes such as North Korea for brainwashing their citizens, and especially their schoolchildren. Many years ago, Andy Kershaw played 2 songs he’d recorded in North Korea, on his Radio 1 show. They were sung by primary school children, and the first was about the “benefits of raising chickens for the good of the state”, and the other’s title was “We Venerate Kim-Jong IL!”. Two weeks ago, one of my FB friends put photo’s up of a diary given to his 6th form son in school, provided by the EU. It contained the most moronic drivel about the euro (currency) I’ve ever seen, it wasn’t just inaccurate, it was dangerous. This is NOT education, it is propaganda.

    Is it any wonder that 30% of all teens leaving schools do not have sufficient literacy skills to compete in the harshest job market for decades? (source: CBI) If they’re not learning *any* British history, how to conduct a conversation, think critically, do sums or how to write, but taught that the EU is the best thing since sliced bread, what hope does any of us have?

  7. 7 Bill 06/11/2011 at 4:42 pm

    “Would you prefer we just gave up, surrendered and let them get on with it – abusing our money and dismantling democracy piece at a time?”

    No, no, no. What I am trying and clearly failing to get over is it is a waste of time ‘proving’ that the system in place doesn’t work. People either know it doesn’t work and shrug their shoulders or they couldn’t care less about the corruption of the system and simply accept their position in life safe in the knowledge that in return for their vote the government guarantees they will protect them. The fact it won’t is neither here nor there. Those that do know how bad it is generally take actions to earn enough cash to numb the worst effects of the state, at least the ones in my circle do.

    But to be honest most people I know don’t want reminding of their own impotence brought on by consenting to rule by state in return for a vote on which party has a turn at the controls. They would much rather ‘get through’ the next day, week, hour month, year taking whatever pain the system puts on them as the price of living in a free democracy!

    The truly believe, or as far as I can tell truly believe, that their place is to do not to question.

    There is no democracy here. It simply doesn’t exist. If memory serves as few as 100,000 Swiss acting together triggers a truly democratic process in Switzerland. In this country a million acting together to prevent war were summarily dismissed by Blair and Parliament and off to war the soldiers went.
    That is not democracy that is party autocracy.

    SteveM
    The EU is just the mother of all autocracies. IEverything it has ever done since Heath signed on the dotted line has been sinister. Seriously you could spend your entire lifetime uncovering some new ‘sinister aspect’ of their machine. It serves no purpose.
    Most don’t want to know. They may be well aware its all sinister but I would bet most simply couldn’t care less because again they have a vote by which they give their consent to be shafted by the EU.

    Politics is to me just the modern version of ‘control by religion’. At the end of the day both came about because a few desire to control the many and make as much personal wealth as possible along the way.
    Religion does it with stories of an ‘ever after’ which may or may not exist along with fear of ending up in the wrong place if you don’t follow the precise instructions of the humans interpreting books and writings written at some point by other earlier humans.
    Politics does it by fear alone. If a human doesn’t follow the politics in control of the population in whatever land they live upon then they will have their land, wealth, possessions, families or in extreme cases their lives taken away from them by force.

    I do however have great faith in the power of the individual.
    I also believe that once someone accepts personal responsibility for their actions great things happen. For many years I gave my consent to the government by voting. I no longer vote. I am not on the electoral roll. Wherever possible I get paid in cash of kind and pay in cash or kind. When payments to the state are unavoidable I pay by cash or cheque and always pay late. I question most things the state asks of me but to be honest even that is a waste of time as I find ignoring the state is a much more productive use of my finite time.
    I am also well aware I am not my name. I am a living breathing human being not a name on a piece of paper or an entry in the states register of births. I am uncovering slowly but surely the true power of the contract and the labyrinthine world of the trust. Both of which are used by the state to keep control of the people by keeping them in a perpetual state of fear that will have dire consequences if they don’t play by the states rules which of course are constantly being changed and tightened.

    Everyone is free to pursue whatever course they think is right to try and unravel what is really going on and bring about change for the better but I cannot see how a state that is geared up to control the majority for the sole purpose of protecting and ‘improving’ the tiny minority of individuals within it is going to be changed by people who are part of the same group be they colured UKIP, Con, Labour, Liberal, BNP, or any other varieties of the same party system.

    I may of course be rambling and all the party state will come good in the end… no it won’t!

  8. 8 Faustiesblog 07/11/2011 at 12:19 am

    It’s pretty clear that the parties have been captured by the EU. But it’s not just by the EU.

    We’re signed up to the WTO, the WHO, the UN, the EU – and a host of others. In each case, they provide us with some ‘benefit’ in return for a subscription – or tax. Isn’t that service/tax relationship one of government/people?

    I contend that our democracy and sovereignty have been stolen from us via international treaties.

    The localism bill is right out of Agenda 21. It’s astonishing just how similar the US and UK plans are – using community organisers to propagandise and recruit locals into their surreal programmes of which “sustainable development” takes centre stage.

    The UN’s approach is “think global, act local”. And it’s quite astonishing how heavily this is featured in its diktats and treaties.

    We need to unpick those treaties.

  9. 9 letmethink 07/11/2011 at 9:05 am

    Faustiesblog:

    I agree with you about Agenda 21 (and all its bastard progeny – the CCA being one of them) but please don’t fall into the trap of thinking Agenda 21 is about sustainable development (which sounds fine and dandy). They give the game away a few times in Agenda 21 by speaking to ‘sustainable consumption’, which is an entirely different animal and the true motivator.

  10. 10 mfosdb 08/11/2011 at 10:07 pm

    The EU presents itself as a benign democratic ‘empire’ concealing the autocratic technocracy at its heart. It doesn’t take much for a technocracy (like the SD in Germany) to follow a charismatic and aggressive leader who transforms the project into a malignant dictatorship.

    Part of the problem is the complexity and convoluted history of the EU. Most people don’t understand it and the Directives are dirty little secrets, concealed by national parliaments.

    The more the democratic deficit is exposed and explained to the people of the EU the better they will understand the quagmire that they are sleepwalking into.

    The EU’s various presidents and institutions are not elected and are unaccountable to EU citizens.The EU Parliament ( the only elected body) has limited powers and cannot initiate legislation, it just maintains the pretence that it has democratic significance, the parliamentarians boots filled with taxpayers money to ensure their compliance.

    Were there to be true democracy within the EU, there would be no Lisbon Treaty and Greece would have been allowed to default months ago. In fact the Euro would not exist and most of the Commission, as well as Barroso and Rompuy would still be minor functionaries in their home countries.

    The more that the anti-democratic element is exposed and explained to people, the more we will be able to make informed choices about who and how we want to be governed, starting at home in our parliaments and councils. The newspapers and the BBC are not going to do it, so its left to the bloggers here and at EURef and others to explain how our leaders are systematically moving towards an EU federal superstate where democracy will become even more of a sham than it already is.

  11. 11 SNSINDSINDSN 29/01/2013 at 10:29 am

    who here can actually say they’re ready for a revolution? my ar15, magazines, .223 ammo, rice/water stockpile, is right here. you lot are armchair warriors, leave it to the professionals. :)


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