Saturday, February 23, 2008

Financial Times – a cesspit of europhiliac misrepresentation

Perhaps one should expect little more from a newspaper which is dedicated to the worship of Mammon, or one that is printed on ever-so-slightly-gay pink, but it is one of those British newspaper institutions which one sometimes wished reflected rather more the interests of the United Kingdom, and played cricket according to gentlemanly rules.

Of course, the newspaper may be genuinely persuaded that the UK’s membership of the EU makes economic sense, but that is not the point of this post.

Cranmer promised Mr Daniel Hannan MEP that he would raise his plight on His Grace’s august blog of intelligent and erudite comment, and he is pleased to so, if only in the name of truth, justice, and fair play. Mr Hannan explains:

'Here is as clear a case of bias as you could ask for. And it comes from that most high-minded and self-regarding of newspapers, the Financial Times.

‘On Monday, the FT published an article by the Conservative MEP Caroline Jackson, in which she attacked her party, its leader and, above all, its policy towards Europe. In it, she also said something completely untrue: “Recently, Daniel Hannan, a Conservative MEP, likened the European Parliament’s German Christian Democrat president to Adolf Hitler after he invoked procedural powers to avoid disruption by those – led by Mr Hannan – who want a referendum.”

I wrote a letter for publication, which I reproduce in full. I’m blowed if I can see what’s wrong with it.


My colleague Caroline Jackson (Comment 17 February) repeats her assertion that I “likened the European Parliament’s German Christian Democrat president to Adolf Hitler”. I did no such thing. On the contrary, I called him “a committed democrat and a decent man”. Although I believe he is behaving badly by tearing up the European Parliament’s rules in order to stifle demands for a referendum, I am none the less rather fond of him.

In recent weeks, two of the main party leaders have done precisely what Caroline falsely accuses me of doing. Martin Schulz, leader of the Party of European Socialists, said that pro-referendum MEPs made him think of Adolf Hitler; and Graham Watson, leader of the Liberals, said that their behaviour recalled “that of the Communists in the Russian Diet and the National Socialists in the German Reichstag”. I don’t remember Caroline or, indeed, any other MEP, protesting about this. It’s evidently OK to call your opponents Nazis provided they’re Euro-sceptics.

‘Now in most newspapers, when someone is mentioned in a comment piece, even if the reference is accurate, he is given the right to reply in a letter. But, on this occasion, the letters’ editor phoned me very apologetically and said that her editor wouldn’t let her print the second paragraph.

‘I sent her this clip, in which all three comments are on film, so that there should be no doubt over the authenticity of what I was writing. And I emailed the editor, Lionel Barber, pointing out that, given what had been said about me, it seemed only fair to allow me to respond in my own words. I wasn’t asking for a comment piece, I said, simply for a short letter. He sent me this reply:

Dear Mr Hannan

“Thank you for your note. I am happy to carry your denial on the letters page but I am reluctant to include more allegations against other MEPs. Caroline Jackson did write 750 words on the op-ed page but she only made a passing reference to you as part of a broader argument. On balance, therefore, I think we should treat the matter as closed.

‘They weren’t “allegations”, of course, as he well knew: I had sent him the clips. But he was unmoved. So, there you have it. The FT is happy to print false charges against a Euro-sceptic on its comment page, but not to carry precisely the same charges, even when demonstrably true, against Euro-philes. (Incidentally, Caroline Jackson’s description of Euro-sceptics as “poisonous fungus” itself rather distastefully recalls the title of an anti-Semitic tract by Julius Streicher.)

‘I mention all this simply because the FT, the Eurocrat’s paper of choice, tends to regard itself as more serious than its rivals. Sometimes, it can be downright pompous in its coverage. Yet, when it comes to the crunch, it won’t deviate from the pro-Brussels line, even when this stance requires blatant partiality.

‘And to think that people still complain about Britain’s “anti-European press”.’

While Cranmer thinks the FT’s promotion of the views of the odious Ms Jackson and its treatment of Mr Hannan to be nothing short of appalling, it is important not to forget the main story in all of this.

The European Parliament has broken all its own rules and regulations in order to prevent its members calling for a referendum, and has, to all intents and purposes, passed its own ‘Enabling Act’. In the circumstances, Mr Hannan's protests were remarkably restrained, measured, courteous.

The remarks of Mssrs Schultz and Watson, however, are offensive and defamatory. It is they who ought to apologise, but it is clearly one rule and standard for those who support ever closer union, and quite another for those who oppose it.

Cranmer would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Hannan for fulfilling Mr Cameron’s pledge to leave the EPP.


Anonymous mickey said...

Your Grace,

With yesterday's events also in mind, I would suggest that Tory politicians would be well advised to heed the words of that august hotelier B.Fawlty, Esq. - "Don't mention the war."

23 February 2008 at 11:58  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
whilst mentions to the most deviant and murderous charactures in history are an unavoilable aspects of an advanced language.
the comparisons between the free in which voting rights are important and the imprisoned in which voting rights are trampled on must be made.
the EU president refuses to acknowledge the strengh of feeling in the UK that what has been foisted upon is not the vote of the free man or woman.

mr hannan and mr helm have been quite brave in the euro scheme of things to opt out. we are being asked to pursue surrender via the new treaty/constitution, to empower unelected people to hold power over us.
this is a reversal of civilisation and more so a downgrading of democracy into dictatorship, even if no guns are visible .

for many years europe seemed to have going down a road of mutual co operation , and i quite liked the idea of bon amiee and bon vier , however i did not see the creep of deviant socialism nor the filling of the labour UK with scores of brussel linked civil servants , doing spin to prepare the way for a smooth transition to a socialist/communist/marxist superstate.

now that labour have been found out they can do little but ram this through to achieve there europe dream , many conservative mps are putting up a very respected fight , despite the labour whip, this not about being anti europe , this is about why we sould govern our own affairs and the dangers that this marxist superstate brings both for the people of the UK and its historic religious context of laws , customs, practices and education.

as labours desperation grows so does there folly , and so they force marry there loveless state. and produce the bastard of cultural death that we are already seeing up and down the country .

23 February 2008 at 17:05  
Anonymous disgusted of near tunbridge wells said...

This is appalling behaviour from Caroline Jackson and the Financial Times. Thank you for highlighting it.

I'm sorry that I don't buy the Financial Times because that means I can't stop buying it in protest.

23 February 2008 at 18:04  
Blogger Anoneumouse said...

Eurosceptics are the new Jews of Europe.

23 February 2008 at 18:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No surprise about this one. The FT, in its own way, is as biased towards its amoral, power-worshipping view of the world as any newspaper you will find in this country. And, sorry to say, the same goes for that other Pearson paper, the Economist.

On the other hand, the quality of reporting in both publications is much better than anything else available in Britain today. Miles above the Telegraph, for example, which has become a joke lately.

23 February 2008 at 18:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely quality reporting and bis are mutually exclusive?

23 February 2008 at 20:59  
Anonymous Rayatcov said...

Whose in charge of the clattering train,
The axles creak and the couplings strain,
The pace is hot and the points are near,
And sleep has deadened the driver's ear,
The signals flash through the night in vain,
For death is in charge of the clattering train.
(Winston Churchill)

23 February 2008 at 22:39  
Blogger tapestry said...

The Economist and The FT both suffer from the same problem. They can do 'business', but are hopeless at politics. As Hannan demonstrates, they are wilfully useless.

My advice is read the detailed reporting as usual, but whenever these two erudite journals attempt to offer any overall understanding of the world's events, it is only useful as a demonstration as to how dreadful the level of thinking in government in Britain and the EU, has become.

The lunatics really are running the asylum.

23 February 2008 at 23:21  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...


"Eurosceptics are the new Jews of Europe".

What do you mean by that comment?

24 February 2008 at 15:30  
Blogger Umbongo said...

Until I read Your Grace's posting on this I might have argued that the FT, although its politics are indistinguishable from the Guardian, tended to restrict its politics to its editorials. It used to take the old-fashioned line of distinguishing fact from opinion. However, since the appointment of Lionel Barber as editor, the lazy, europhile, climate catastrophist journalism we have come to expect from (among others) the Guardian and the BBC has begun to infiltrate the FT. The treatment of Daniel Hannan as revealed by Your Grace is accordingly unwelcome though not, unfortunately, a surprise.

24 February 2008 at 17:03  

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