Our lazy press and its appeals to authority

Scenario.  You’re a highly paid journalist working for what is considered by many as a heavyweight broadsheet with an international reputation.

The world economy is convulsing and an entire currency is sliding towards collapse, barely being held together by political interventions and actions that increasingly bind nations using that currency into fiscal and political union.

You secure an interview with one of the chief architects of that currency to talk about how this currency crisis came to be and whether he got it the design wrong.  It is time to prepare.

Do you:

a) Revise by looking back in detail as far as the interviewee’s report in the 1990s which formed the plan for the currency

b) Go back to the origins of the bigger project of which the single currency was merely a milestone, and the method of implementing change without stirring the people into revolt

c) Rock up to the interview with pad and tape recorder, ask if he got it wrong and accept whatever answer he gives as truthful fact and report it accordingly

If you answered ‘c’ then the Barclay Brothers might be interested in hiring you to work on their comic. It would explain the uncritical acceptance of the comments made by Jacques Delors in this piece by very grand Charles Moore (whose bio states he covers politics with wisdom and insight!), which is notable for the lack of any challenge of the points Delors makes.

There is a reason this blog describes the Telegraph as the Barclay Brother Beano, and Richard North’s tour de force on EU Referendum brings it into sharp relief.

While Moore faithfully relays the answers Delors provided to his lightweight questions – demonstrating a classic appeal to authority and lack of journalistic rigour – North does the job Moore should have done and gets into the history, the detail and the methodology to put into proper context what is happening now and why.

It puts a very different hue on Delors’ deceptive attempt to rewrite history and keep the masses in ignorance of the nature of the beast he loves and cherishes.

Update:  The BBC News is leading with the Delors interview furthering the ‘faulty execution’ line.  This is the derivative, unthinking media at its worst.

But what really stands out is how UKIP’s Nigel Farage has jumped into the story – spectacularly missing the point of the strategy behind the plan – to use Delors’ interview comments as evidence that the Euro was always destined to fail.  When Farage blows it this badly it vindicates my decision not to support his party.

27 Responses to “Our lazy press and its appeals to authority”

  1. 1 Martin Cole 03/12/2011 at 11:24 am

    Quite so!
    On my blog I chose to link the RAEN’s article to another post from Mary Ellen Synon on Horst Reichenbach, now busy oppressing the Greeks, because clearly one thing led to the other.

  2. 2 Sue 03/12/2011 at 12:12 pm

    At the risk of sounding like a “Farage Groupie”, there are some who still think we are a bunch of conspiracy theorists. I can see why he just wants to stick to a direct approach to this story.

    You must remember that many out there in “x factorland” are still in dumbed down zombie mode and those of us who are not, are well aware of the long term plan to conquer europe.

  3. 3 Bellevue 03/12/2011 at 12:15 pm

    Please tell us, Autonomous one, who would you vote for? if not UKIP.

  4. 4 Autonomous Mind 03/12/2011 at 12:43 pm

    As I have said before Bellevue, I won’t vote for any of the political parties.

    Voting achieves what, exactly? No matter who people vote for, nothing changes. Never has the refrain ‘they are all the same’ been more true.

    When enough people refuse to vote because they support none of the above, resulting in electoral illegitimacy, people may finally reject the politicians and change the entire system.

    While UKIP wishes to pull us out of the EU, it remains naiive about what that requires – and Farage still shows he doesn’t get the strategy that has to be confronted and defeated.

  5. 5 Bellevue 03/12/2011 at 1:20 pm

    Thank you for that, AM. But, wouldnt you say that a vote for UKIP sends a strong message to the political elite?
    If people just dont bother to vote, as a protest, it is just ignored by the political elite. I think it is a terrible waste to not vote, and sends no message to the elite.
    I see that in the Heathrow by-election there is a “Bus pass Elvis” or some such party. I would vote for that – just to show my contempt for the current Lib/Lab/Con.

  6. 6 Bellevue 03/12/2011 at 1:23 pm

    And I do agree that our votes are worthless – EXCEPT to make a point. So vote for anything other than the 3 main parties.
    I think that this way of voting will become much more noticeable at the next election. (whether TPTB take note or not is open to question…..)

  7. 7 Sam Duncan 03/12/2011 at 1:30 pm

    Without discounting the possibility that Farage is as dumb as he looks, I think Sue has a point. The way to build a mass anti-EU party is to drill the idea “EU=bad” into people’s heads at every opportunity, and not to harp on too much about detail.

    Having said that, I don’t think, “No, Delors is wrong: it wasn’t the execution, it was the idea” is particularly complicated. Or, as Sue suggests, frightening to those who still think of the anti-EU movement as a bunch of mad conspiracy theorists. On the contrary: this, surely, is a perfect opportunity to push the point – gently – that there might actually be a conspiracy.

  8. 8 Sue 03/12/2011 at 2:00 pm

    @Sam I think we bloggers are pushing the point gently, but Farage needs to have mass appeal, whereas we have no particular audience to placate or please. I’m also assuming he goes along with the theory, which he may not.

    I’d like to think that those who show more interest than your “average Joe” tend to do the research for themselves, there’s no shortage online.

    What does make me angry as AM is saying in his post, is that given this unique opportunity, Moore manages to prove to all and sundry what an inadequate, lazy, useless journalist he is. It’s a shame The Telegraph has sunk so low.

    Can you imagine what a coup this interview could have been?

  9. 9 Jeremy Bridges 03/12/2011 at 4:07 pm

    Farage is doing the very best he can. I’m a UKIP member – which is a Political Party – not a book of the month club. Our Nigel is providing leadership of the very highest quality. We are a disparate bunch and I’m telling you keeping this lot heading in the same direction, without having the “treasures” wandering off in all directions is a full time job. He has my total support.
    As for Mr Delors – whether or not he is attempting to re-write his personal history is neither here nor there. The Euro as originally conceived had within it the seeds of its own destruction, and regardless what you think of the Telegraph. writers such as Ambrose Evans Pritchard having hammering away on just this point for years, and a pretty damn lonely business it has been.
    That he has been vindicated gives Ambrose and the rest of us no pleasure whatsoever. I’m 75 years of age and I have never – ever- seen anything as gut wrenchingly frightening as the current situation.
    Pretty soon you guys won’t have time to post all these thoughtful and extremely helpful comments – the name of the game is going to be survival.
    I’m serious.

    You all take great care.

    God Bless and good luck.

    Jez @ Chichester UK.

  10. 10 Radical Rodent 03/12/2011 at 4:54 pm

    How dare you desecrate the name of our most revered publication with a picture of those two brothers! Then, even worse, to grind the name into the dirt by linking it (however tenuously) with Jackie Dolorous (sci) and the EU.


  11. 11 Brian H 03/12/2011 at 7:36 pm

    You hope to right things by imposing “electoral illegitmacy”?!?!?!?
    There are two possibilities here:
    1) You are comprehensively deluded about the possible responses of the elected ones;
    2) You are attempting to promote de facto apathy, and hence are a “false flag” supporter of the status quo.

    Which is it?

  12. 12 Autonomous Mind 03/12/2011 at 8:10 pm

    Neither. I would not be imposing anything. When the political class speaks for only a fraction of the people do you believe the people will accept that? Do you believe the government would hold things together?

    As for this ‘false flag’ nonsense, do you honestly think I support the status quo? Really? How does refusing to support non entities equate to apathy? People can be fully engaged but not vote when they disagree with what’s on offer. Refusing to vote is not only a symptom of not caring, it is also a symptom in many cases of caring very much indeed.

  13. 13 Faustiesblog 04/12/2011 at 12:35 am

    I’m with Sue and Bellevue on this, AM.

    Why don’t you interview Farage, yourself? Perhaps you can solicit questions from your readers, beforehand.

    There’s nothing to stop you from asking him “off-record” questions, before or after the interview, to satisfy your own curiosity.

    It’d make a cracking blog post!

  14. 14 right_writes 04/12/2011 at 9:22 am

    Sorry AM, but you just don’t get Farage do you?

    UKIP is far more intelligent than you imagine, and it is perhaps our choice of Nigel Farage for leader which demonstrates this more than anything.

    In order to fight such luminaries as Delors, Von Rumpuy, or the Patten/Clark type lefty CONservatives, you have to be ready with a BBC friendly quip, or a “boilerplate” comment for one of the Barclay/Rothermere type comics.

    Having Farage perform that function, could not be a better choice, highly intelligent, very quick witted, but capable of the most spurious and facile rentaquotes as the best of breed that currently infest our politics.

    If he was an Enoch Powell type, he would be a far easier target, it’s really easy to knock out an intellectual type, however well reasoned the arguments.

  15. 15 NickM 04/12/2011 at 10:53 am

    I do agree with Right_Writes. A large number of people appear put off by “an intellectual type”.

    However I also disagree with Richard North’s basic outlook on the euro. He (and other eurosceptics) have been telling us for months that the euro will collapse any minute. He now posts that the colleagues knew that the euro would crumble when they set it up (as in Delors is lying and Moore is a dupe).

    Firstly the euro hasn’t collapsed. Secondly if the colleagues were bright enough to know that there would be a euro crisis in the future, then they must have been bright enough to work out what they would do as a consequence (ie make use of the ‘beneficial’ crisis, as RN says).

    In which case it is unlikely that the euro will collapse.

    Too many eurosceptics are leading with their hearts whilst pretending to be intellectuals. The euro is not going to collapse because the EU elites are far more ruthless, and have a far greater lust for power, than is being allowed for. They will twist, turn and lie. They will ignore treaties and the law. And they will get the UK and the USA to help them save the euro. Just look at that fool Cameron.

  16. 16 Sandy 04/12/2011 at 11:20 am

    “Too many eurosceptics are leading with their hearts whilst pretending to be intellectuals. ”
    The death of the euro is written in maths. it takes no intellect to see that a debt problem can’t be solved with more debt.
    As to UKIP we can only hope its credibility grows with its support.

  17. 17 NickM 04/12/2011 at 12:26 pm

    Sandy, there are two main problems in the eurozone: a sovereign debt crisis, and a currency crisis. They are separate yet many people do not even seem to be aware of the distinction.

    The currency crisis part is where current Greek productivity is 30% lower than German productivity. This arises because the euro locked countries’ exchange rates at entry which has become inappropriate over time. This faultline was highlighted by many economists a decade ago or more. It is long term and can only be cured by full fiscal union (and near full political union) together with millions of PIIGS workers moving to Germany.

    The sovereign debt crisis is not a crisis of the euro per se. It did arise because the “one-size-fits-all” interest rate for the eurozone was too low for too long for the PIIGS. The bailouts are not “debt solved by debt” but a rollover of existing debt. Under full fiscal union they could not arise (unless the entire eurozone took on new debt which is unlikely given Germany being in charge and the euro is floating, where effectively the Drachma/Mark cannot).

  18. 18 Bellevue 04/12/2011 at 1:21 pm

    I agree with Faustie…….how about you doing an interview with Farage, and us commentors can supply questions. I think it is a brilliant idea. It would be great to have the chance to grill Farage about the nuts and bolts of quitting the EU; and also to learn more about UKIP’s other policies.
    Oh please do!

  19. 19 Autonomous Mind 04/12/2011 at 2:01 pm

    I’ll think about it. I’m actually not sure he would go for it. After all, he doesn’t even follow me on Twitter, so I’m not convinced he would submit himself to my questions.

  20. 20 Beware of Geeks Bearing GIFs 04/12/2011 at 2:26 pm

    Hi AM, am an avid fan of your blog, its discussions, messages and its readers’ comments. You hold a torch for those that are watching with sadness, the decay of a country.

    However, I have to agree with Sue on this one: despite the tripartite abomination all singing from the same soiled song sheet, driving us into economic oblivion, voting is indeed pointless apart from the true meaning of the very act itself.

    How better when suffocating in the bilge, to at least, with a last gasp of a dying age, a final show of determination, bitter arrogance, of strength, to speak and say “to hell with you looters” and vote UKIP?

    I’m totally disenfranchised with the entire way our country is heading, from the way my business is sullied with the unending stinking turds from the State’s ever widening sphincter of legislation splattering the bowl of the so called free market, to the complacency of an entitled, placated populace where the entrepreneur Simon Cowell is worshipped as their demigod.

    Our society, as always, is in the deeply held grip of panem et circensus and until the suffering affects the TV schedules, we will see no change but at least we can hold those that loot to account in our small but growing ways.

    From refusing to fill in the 2011 Census (did you guys do this, or did you fall for the propaganda of threats and imprisonment? I didn’t, refused to fill it in and have received no legal discourse – funny that, eh?), being TV licence free for three years from a simple act of putting up a “implied right of access denied” notice on my front door, emailing my Tory MP and reminding him of the email exchange we had previously, on his broken promises of removing IR35 and other various crippling taxes that had been waterboarded onto UK business from the last vile lot, why I was never going to vote for his party again as I held them in the same light as the other wankers.

    Will my individual actions change anything?


    But at least I can say I tried. Maybe others can too?

  21. 21 Martin Cole 04/12/2011 at 2:41 pm

    Well this is a bit embarassing§ I made my comment before the “Update” appeared. It now looks as though I agree with the comment about Nigel Farage in the update, rather than with the original posting as I had intended.

    I might agree with the comment about Farage, or I may well not, I cannot say as I do not know what it was.

    I have posted quite a bit since the comment above, on my own blog about the Euro ( and therefore indirectly on what Delors is trying to assert).

    I am trying through careful review of many old postings to gather the evidence that these cunning conspirators are attaining their long-held objective. I will put them on my blog and elsewhere as seems most appropriate.

    On Nigel Farage a parting question – were he not making the succinct and accurate points in the EU Parliament which are making these total slime-balls slither and squirm? Nobody else would be and few others when called upon, would seem to have the same oratorical skills so to do!

  22. 22 Faustiesblog 04/12/2011 at 4:07 pm

    Yes, please do, AM! :)

    Farage’s arguments will be tested by his obvious enemies – the europhiles – but the subtleties will be avoided, sacrificed to “sound-bite politics” that the corporate media so loves.

    He likes a good argument and I’m sure he’d welcome more exposure. He’s fully aware of the power of the blog.

  23. 23 Bellevue 04/12/2011 at 7:39 pm

    Dear Am, what the hell does ‘following you on twitter’ have to do with anything?
    All he needs to do is read some of your blog…. see where you are coming from….where your commentators are coming from…and he would be a fool to refuse.
    I am quite sure he would agree to do this. If he refuses, we will draw our own conclusions….
    It would be wonderful publicity for UKIP and Farage.
    What’s not to like?

  24. 24 Autonomous Mind 04/12/2011 at 7:55 pm

    The ‘follow on Twitter’ thing is about the efforts I have made previously to engage with him and challenge some of his thinking. The result was silence.

    I am well aware he has a lot of followers but so do many other people who nonetheless engage with people whose viewpoint may differ even if they appear to want the same objective. It just doesn’t give me a great deal of hope that he would give me the time of day.

    In any case, an interview can be quite limiting and unless doing it face to face it is hard to ask supplementary questions or clarify what is being said. I’m not convinced by its value.

    I’m well aware that some of my valued readers are not happy with the view I have of Nigel Farage. Fair enough. But it is a view I hold for a reason that is valid to me. If that means you would rather not visit this blog, then I respect that and wish you well.

  25. 25 dave ward 05/12/2011 at 1:56 pm

    “Will my individual actions change anything?


    But at least I can say I tried. Maybe others can too?”

    I couldn’t really avoid filling in the Census, due to family commitments . However I managed to do it in such a way as to give no more information than they already had.

    I’ve exchanged several emails with my MP and been to 2 “surgeries” for face to face contact. At the last one I made it plain that I was NOT happy with the sham “democracy” we currently enjoy, and I have also raised the small matter of our taxes being thrown at overseas development and so called “Charity”. It probably won’t make any difference, but I’m now also aware of the “Copy & Paste” nature of the replies I got. I suggest anyone who contacts an MP does likewise, and compares each reply with the others.

    I’ve also had a number of letters critical of AGW & Renewable Energy published in my local newspaper, so I think I have “made some effort”.

    “Every little helps”….

  26. 26 jameshigham 05/12/2011 at 8:01 pm

    The only thing which surprises me here is the surprise it seems to have occasioned.

  27. 27 Sebastian Weetabix 06/12/2011 at 7:58 am

    UKIP is never going to win any Westminster parliamentary election in this country. The vast majority of the people simply don’t give enough of a toss about ‘Europe’ – they find the issue dull and tend to think people who bang on about it are weird obsessives (I get this reaction when we chat about it at work). Farage comes across as an amusing lightweight on an ego trip, leading a one man party that appeals only to the hanging/flogging Tory nutcase brigade. I appreciate that Ukippers will choke on their cornflakes when they see this, but truth hurts.

    Those of us who are viscerally opposed to the EU and all its works would be better off taking a leaf from the militant tendency book – infiltrate the conservative party & take it back.

    The sheeple aren’t going to be hanging the kleptocracy from lampposts any time soon.

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