“Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal’s anti-euro Left banned from power” screamed Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Daily Telegraph on Friday last week. The Telegraph even followed up with a piece about why Portugal’s situation was a threat to everyone else. Everyone from Daniel Hannan to Owen Jones jumped on it, and even some sensible folks like Jamie Bartlett and Glyn Moody tweeted about the Evans-Pritchard piece.
The only problem was it wasn’t actually the Eurozone or the EU behaving badly at all. They’d not said anything. Ok, Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva’s words were unwise, but as Chris Hanretty pointed out in an excellent rebuttal, he was asking the largest political party to try to form a government, and that’s his call as the President.
I’m no specialist in the workings of Portuguese politics, but I know and trust some folks online who are – people like Rui Tavares and Filipe S Henriques, and neither of them vote right. So what did they say?
What they said also seems to actually be happening – it looks like Pedro Passos Coelho, the nominated Prime Minister, will not be able to put together a government that will pass a confidence vote, and hence the left will try instead. Which is exactly as it should work. This might not be a recipe for strong and effective government (as João Da Costa also points out) , but it for sure is not a coup.
So that would stop all the fuss you’d think?
No, of course not! Why let facts get in the way when you’re having fun berating the EU? Just this morning Douglas Carswell weighs in with this:
Douglas, have you not paid any attention to any of the analysis of what has happened since The Telegraph published on Friday?
Meanwhile this from Hannan on the weekend is also priceless:
Perhaps Daniel, there is not actually a coup going on and that’s why the BBC is not reporting it?
Then to cap it all Portuguese newspaper Público publishes a piece taking the mick out of British EU sceptics for falling for the whole thing, and others on Twitter have a field day:
Meanwhile, Evans-Pritchard, never normally one to hold back on Twitter, has been silent since the day his piece was published. Maybe he, unlike Hannan and Carswell, realises he now cannot defend the indefensible?
Anyway folks, welcome to Britain’s post-fact politics! Why let what’s actually happening determine your view when you can use prejudice and confirmation bias instead?
[UPDATE 27.10.2015, 1745]
So Farage has gone and topped the lot of them, calling the Portuguese President’s decision (that he explains wrongly anyway) the latest example of “the modern day implementation of the Brezhnev Doctrine”. EUSSR! Yaaaaah!