If anyone was in any doubt that the Barclay Brothers’ Telegraph is planting its flag firmly on europhile ‘in’ campaign ground, then their Head of Business, Damian Reece, has provided clear evidence of it in that comic, declaring in a piece titled ‘We may soon need Europe more than Europe needs us’ that:
For as long as I have been in work I’ve been writing about Europe’s single currency in one way or another, from the Exchange Rate Mechanism to a eurozone break-up.
We could try to negotiate our own bilateral trade agreements but given our market of 60m people we’re unlikely to win such attractive terms as a market such as the EU’s 500m.
All that time I’ve maintained a stubborn opposition to Britain’s membership. But now an equally difficult choice is looming, which centres on what sort of Europeans do we want to be or, perhaps more realistically, what sort of Europeans can we be?
Having spent years currying favour with its readers with various criticisms of the EU, now that push is coming to shove the Telegraph’s hack pack is declaring itself for the UK to stay firmly inside the EU pumping out evidence-free strawman articles and commentary, while downplaying or completely ignoring every negative aspect of membership. For example, in light of a raft of opinion polls how could Reece have possibly concluded that:
There is a consensus here that the UK must retain its membership of the single market but that we should remain outside the single currency.
Where there is evidence that Reece’s assertions simply don’t stand up to scrutiny, he simply dismisses it, as he does in this little section:
But as the brakes come off world trade, the biggest beneficiaries will be members of the biggest trading blocs. Those outside these groups risk missing out on the biggest benefits of multilateralism and trying to join after the event risks less favourable terms. We could try to negotiate our own bilateral agreements but given our market of 60m people we’re unlikely to win such attractive terms as a market such as the EU’s 500m. It’s true the likes of Switzerland do it but I don’t believe we should be aspiring to be Switzerland — no offence to the Swiss.
So his argument is undermined by evidence that the Swiss, a much smaller entity than the UK, successfully negotiate bi-lateral agreements. So to deal with that inconvenient fact he puts up another strawman that we shouldn’t be aspiring to be like the Swiss. Eh? That’s the only way he can make his argument stand up? Such deep thinking.
The even more inconvenient fact Reece dodges is that Switzerland – with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – make up the EFTA group of countries. and they do have real influence along with all-important independence. The EFTA countries are highly competitive, open economies representing a sizeable market with strong per capita purchasing power. There is always an option for Britain to join that bloc, if only as a temporary step, and that bloc could easily cooperate to secure attractive world trade terms. Indeed, EFTA could easily transform itself into something different and even more beneficial. But of course when europhilia is coursing through one’s veins, one is blinded to any alternative to remaining in the EU’s unnecessary and anti-democratic political union.
It seems the only europhile argument is that we should sacrifice this country’s ability to govern itself in return for the illusion of ‘influence’ and access to a market that is in any case open to other countries outside the EU. And Reece is buying in to it along with the mythical renegotiation meme pushed by the Tories and their little helpers that still leaves the EU in control of the UK.
As faith in the political class is at an all time low and still falling, thankfully so is faith in the fourth estate as the disdain and mistrust extends out to encompass the whole establishment – a point Lord Justice Leveson would do well to grasp. That much is clear from reading the almost 900 comments the overwhelmingly majority of which ridicule, challenge and deconstruct Reece’s supposed new-found europhilia.
But the important fact to take from all this is the establishment is setting itself against the wishes of the people, therefore serving interests other than ours.
It will necessitate an organic, grassroots campaign of a type not adopted here before, reaching out directly to the electorate to explain why leaving the EU will be beneficial for this country. It’s the only way a positive message can be presented that by-passes the lies and distortions of the political class and their poodles in the mainstream media. Battle needs to be joined for the future of the United Kingdom.