Written by Sir John Redwood
This article was first published in John Redwood’s Diary and we re-publish with his kind permission.
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The contrast between the way much of the conventional media reports on the European continent compared to their reports on the USA and UK has never been starker. We regularly hear every Democrat criticism of President Trump and every Lib Dem and Labour jibe about Boris but never hear the AFD tearing into Mrs Merkel nor National Rally assailing Mr Macron.
The choice of topics is also skewed. We hear regular reports into poverty, racism and violent crime in the USA or UK but no such coverage of France or Germany. The mass protests in France for almost a year along with the deaths and woundings of protesters by the security forces usually go without mention. The nasty outbreaks of violence in Germany linked in their media to minority criminal elements in the recently arrived migrant population and to groups of local people who oppose the migration policy by violence go largely unremarked.
The strange double standards applies to reporting austerity politics. Any cut in public spending in the UK within the context of an overall state budget rising in real terms is reported as unacceptable austerity. The true homes of austerity economics in parts of the Eurozone go little discussed, even though there we have seen cash cuts in wages, cash cuts in state pensions, large layoffs and the rest. There is a refusal to see that the Uk Treasury’s whole programme of increased taxes and limited spending rises was based on the EU requirement to see state debt as a percentage of GDP falling.
Even more curious is the differential approach to new laws. If they come from the EU they get little criticism and often little coverage.Anything proposed here or by Mr Trump is likely to get energetic and critical debate. The massive data law GDPR had a big impact on business costs and priorities for many months yet it was as if it did not exist in much of the media. Imagine the rows if a UK government had proposed that.
The USA and UK have made good progress in creating jobs and cutting unemployment. The mass unemployment of much of the Eurozone and the unacceptably high youth unemployment in much of the south gets little attention. Remain inclined media ought to be as scandalised about unemployment and poverty in Greece or southern Italy as they are about lesser amounts in UK blackspots. The EU ideal should create equal concern about anywhere in the Union.
Over our many years in the EU much of the media have denied the EU has much impact on our lives. Now we are leaving that same media tell us the EU is so critical to so many aspects of our lives we cannot live without it. No wonder so many people now say back “We don’t believe you.”
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[Ed: Don’t miss Sir John Redwood’s book “We Don’t Believe You: Why Populists and Establishment See the World Differently”!]