Monday, September 24, 2007 

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Murdoch?

It'd be nice if the Sun decided to make up its mind on just what exactly is the biggest threat to this nation since WW2. Back in July it decided that the terrorist threat was the greatest since WW2, as part of its justification for extending the current 28-day detention limit for "terrorist suspects". I'm not going to pretend to be old enough to remember what the Sun's attitude towards the Soviet Union was, even during its decline and eventual fall, but I'm betting that there was slightly more reverence for the Russian bear than it's convenient to mention today.

The Scum doesn't expect its readers' to remember what the paper said yesterday though, let alone two months ago, as after all, they're working class illiterate morons, so it's more than happy to contradict itself, especially when it's involved in such a major lie and disinformation campaign as it is today.

They say that patriotism is the last refuge of a scandal, and online, we have another law, Godwin's. The Sun breaks both within a couple of lines of its extended leader column:

Wake up Britain! Our proud nation faces the greatest threat as an independent sovereign state since the dark days of World War II.

We won that titanic struggle against the roaring guns of Nazi Germany.

So, err, to indulge the Sun for a second, just how many lives are going to be lost fighting this threat? We lost just less than half a million in WW2; how many is the EU constitution going to cost us?

I'll leave that brainteaser for you to decide.

Unless we start that fight today, Gordon Brown will sign and ratify the EU Constitution — the blueprint for a United States of Europe — within weeks.

The reform treaty of course isn't anything like a blueprint for an actual "United States of Europe"; if it was, then you could rest assured that almost every single politician across Europe would be kicking up a stink. Sovereignty is just as much an issue abroad as it is here, and if they thought that the constitution was about to make their own parliaments redundant, they'd be even more noise about referendums than there already is.

We will no longer have control over relations with other countries, the defence of our nation or the right to run our own police and law courts.

Utter nonsense. Does the Sun really honestly think that its readers are going to believe that we're about to leave our own defence to the cheese-eating surrender monkeys over on the continent? Oh, wait...

As Nosemonkey points out, we retained the opt-outs over control of our own police and law courts, as the Sun puts it.

This takeover bid will consign Britain to a bit part in a 27-nation federal state permanently governed from Brussels by unelected officials and unaccountable politicians.

Oh yeah, those European MPs we elect every so often don't do anything, I forgot about that.

Centuries of parliamentary democracy will be consigned to history.

Of course, keep taking the pills Rebekah.

The Labour government’s record on the loathed Constitution is one of promises made — and promises broken.

See, this is what this is really all about. Back in 2004, it's widely rumoured that Rupert Murdoch gave Blair an option: either he promise a referendum on the EU constitution, or the Scum and the Times would switch their support to Michael Howard. Blair promised a referendum. In the event, the French and Dutch votes meant that one wasn't needed, although one was promised in the 2005 Labour manifesto. With Brown about to give his triumphant address to today's Labour party conference, the Scum has just had to remind him that it's still more than prepared to extract its pound of flesh in return for its continuing support. Technically, Brown isn't breaking any promises, as the manifesto promise was on a referendum on a constitution, while this is a reforming treaty which does much the same as that document would have, but still isn't a constitution.

As ever, it's all about power -- and just about how much Rupert Murdoch can enforce his own views not just on politicians, but as nations as a whole, through his newspapers which claim to speak for the average man in the street but which at the same time lie through their teeth and distort to those very people in order to earn their support. The leader goes on to quote numerous European leaders speaking about how little difference there is between the constitution and the reform treaty, not informing its readers of the context of them: Spain's prime minister's remarks are reproduced liberally, without mention of how his enthusiasm for the treaty's lack of difference to the constitution might be because his own population overwhelmingly voted yes in its own referendum on it (albeit on a low turnout). While Angela Merkel wasn't in power when the treaty was ratified, the result of the vote in the Bundestag was a landslide, 569 for to 23 against. People might often disagree with their elected representatives, but it would be churlish to suggest that there wasn't at least majority backing among the actual electorate behind such a vote.

In fact, there's so much nonsense in the leader it would require a post longer than it deserves to deal with all the falsehoods. It claims we're going to lose our permanent UN security council seat; presumably France will be giving up theirs as well, not to mention Germany, which also wants its own when the council is eventually reformed. It suggests that this is not a simple issue of in or out, then mentions Keith Vaz wants a referendum, without bothering to point out that err, he in fact wants a vote on staying in or out in order to "shut-up" anti-Europeans. It deliberately obfuscates the TUC's position, saying that they think the treaty doesn't go far enough, when they in fact want the EU's charter of fundamental rights' workers' protections to apply here, one of the red lines that Blair obtained which the Scum pretends is worthless.

In fact, that is just one of the two supreme ironies of the Sun's argument and positioning. The very people who would most benefit from the treaty, the British workers who are currently denied the privileges and rights which are already available on mainland Europe are also those most likely to read the Sun. No doubt that betrayal of the working class is more than amusing to the proprietor with a notorious history of union-busting and cost cutting. It's also bitterly appropriate that the Sun uses war imagery and the memory of Churchill in its rhetoric, when you can make a more than decent argument that the EU and its predecessor organisations are at least partly responsible for western Europe's past 60 years' of peace.

The Sun though has helped to convince me. We ought to call its bluff and fight to win the referendum, whether it's on just the treaty or on staying in Europe altogether. Its very own poll shows that it's far more possible than a lot of the pessimists would imagine, with 32% saying they would vote yes against 38% voting no, with up to 30% undecided to either vote or how to vote. What better victory would there be than to defeat the right-wing press consensus and prove all the naysayers wrong?

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