The Times

How can a newspaper that is supposed to have a serious and sensible reputation write such complete such a rubbish leader? Well, of course it’s one about the EU – a topic that is clearly too complex for the dim-wits to understand. The article in question is a leader from today’s Times.

  1. Why has the European Court of Auditors not signed off the books? Because the Member States, yes, that’s Member States like the UK, cannot keep track of their funds. In organisations like the Rural Payments Agency. There would be 2 ways to clear things up: abolish the major funding mechanisms (and the UK is OK with the CAP), or for the Commission to send teams of people snooping on the Members States. Not a chance of either of those happening – and if the Commission did the latter people like The Times would be the first to cry foul. Further, from the House of Lords report on the issue: “Sir John Bourn, Comptroller and Auditor General at the UK’s National Audit Office told us that, were he required to issue a single Statement of Assurance on the UK Government’s accounts in the same way as the Court of Auditors does for Europe’s accounts, he, like the Court, would be unable to do so”
  2. The article claims it’s MEPs’ own fault that the British people see the EP as a ‘gravy train‘. Well, considering MEPs get the same pay as MPs in Westminster, have to work in 3 places in 3 countries, and get no credit or coverage in the UK press for what they do, it’s quite probable that publications like The Times are responsible for creating that term that’s applied liberally to plenty of politicians at all levels. Plus the biggest folly of all – having the EP in Brussels and Strasbourg – is decided by the Heads of State and Government, not the EP itself. The UK government is very much complicit in that.
  3. The MEPs’ expenses total about £100 million a year, but there are 785 MEPs, each of whom pays normally 4 staff – 2 in Brussels and 2 at home in their constituencies. About £130000 for each of them does not seem outrageous, when social security and other expenses are included. The total staff of the EP as a whole – MEPs, assistants, secretariat – is similar in size to a small-ish UK government department (BERR for example), while the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions employs more staff that all the EU institutions in total.
  4. They have shamefully milked the system‘ says The Times. No facts, no figures. Neither they nor Chris Davies MEP have listed how much of this £100 million is supposed to have been used in a fraudulent manner. The Times – lazily – just assumes all of it is.
  5. That the chances of them being taken appear close to nil speaks volumes‘ is also a load of rubbish. It was the EP that was responsible for rooting out the corruption in the Santer Commission. With elections on the horizon there will be plenty of pressure to behave decently on this.

Now don’t get the wrong end of the stick with what I’ve written. If there is fraud it has to be stamped out (as I’ve argued), but it’s nice and easy for the British press to all get in a frenzy. I’m so damned sick of this lacklustre, lazy and facile journalism.

3 Comments

  1. Yvette Doll

    The British have a ‘no-blame’ society.The Telegraph is talking about the darkest chapter yet to Britain’s appalling history of organised child abuse.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/02/29/njersey429.xml

    But that is probably not true, British teachers and care-workers have been involved in murders (in Europe) for decades. The Brits simply cover it up.

    The police in Cheb, Prague, Bulgaria are under no illusions that they are expected not to forward intelligence on British pedophiles.

    Too many teachers!

    Experts at state.gov and justice.gov are contemplating that Britain has a child abuse phenomena never before encountered in a developed society.

    A country which has tens of millions of child pornography transactions needs to sort out the NASUWT. It is a no-brainer.

    The Bichard reforms for example, resulted in more sex offenders being legitimately recruited by schools.

    The Soham killings prompted Labor, Conservatives and Lib Dems to increase the number of dangerous men in schools whilst giving the appearance to the unwashed masses they were prohibiting the practice.

    It therefore goes without saying that what is good for the NASUWT is good for the politicians. Why should anybody pay a price for being rotten, corrupt or for thinking that sex between educatos and schoolkids is educative?

    I was interviewed the other day by a news service in the USA, I was asked to explain what happened to the legitimate gay rights movement after they lost to the PIE/GLF faction.

    I told them the truth, we were hounded and ridiuled for ‘not being queer’ enough whilst the pedophiles took over more or less everything. That is exactly what happened in Britain.

    That is why gay rights awards are being named after the founding members of PIE. The no blame game, is nowhere more transparent than immigration and child protection.

    The Brits have a rich society delivering third world performances by their civil servants. Haut de la Garenne is as normal to UK society as Abu Ghraib was reflective of the dark heart of the US.

    Abu Ghraib was not unAmerican, it was too American, and Haut de la Garenne will join a thousand other abuses as an indicator of how far the Brits will go to protect their teachers and care-workers from justice.

  2. Rose22

    Jon, this is a good rebuttal and Ralf’s right, if the EP are trying to clarify at all I’m certainly not hearing it in the UK press. Corruption in public funding is not acceptable, but nor is it exclusive to the EP. At least we can say that the UK press is equally fierce on corruption in Westminster now.

  3. Jon, most of what you write makes sense, but the European Parliament has done its utmost to break every rule in the book on ‘crisis communication’.

    How stupid can a public institution be, when confronted wit unpalatable facts?

    Lack of acknowledgement and missing promises to rectify things are like a torrent to the rumour mill.

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