Euro-sceptics whinge that their case is ignored by Britain's press and TV. They couldn't be more mistaken ...

Last week I found myself on a pan-continental television programme arguing against an utterly absurd conspiracy theory. EBN (European Business News) gave a platform to the Campaign for an Independent Britain, an organisation that has engineered a Euro-sceptic Website to counter what it portrays as a sinister conspiracy between meddling Eurocrats and "pro-European" media organisations.

The main target of its broadside was the BBC. "Free Britain" (as the Website is called) claims that the Beeb was among 50 broadcasting organisations invited to Brussels back in January for talks aimed at devising a pro- single currency media blitz which would be backed by a $22m (pounds 14m) budget.

Speaking for the Campaign for an Independent Britain, Lord Stoddard of Swindon said: "The Euro-fanatics get a lot more space than the people who are against further integration. That's why we've decided to go on the Internet."

My response, as you can probably guess, was dismissive. The suggestion that Euro-sceptics cannot put their message across in this country is preposterous. Virtually every national newspaper published in London is ferociously Euro-phobic, not least because most are owned by global empire- builders who are fervently opposed to European integration.

As for the allegation that the BBC is pumping out pro-Euro propaganda, that is simply laughable. Doesn't Lord Stoddard realise that Peter Jay, the corporation's economics editor, is sternly opposed to a single currency? If he doesn't, he must be the only viewer or listener who hasn't cottoned on.

Viewers might not detect any bias in Jay's brief contributions to the Nine O'Clock News, but the former British ambassador to Washington gives full vent to his Euro-phobia when he makes forays into the print media. He also once turned an entire edition of Panorama - apocalyptically entitled "A Country Called Europe" - into a 40-minute party political broadcast for the Referendum Party.

So, if the BBC did send a representative to the aforementioned talks in Brussels - it told EBN it couldn't be sure if it had or not "because of its size" - it most assuredly wasn't its Euro-sceptical economics editor. The European Commission explained that the purpose of the initiative was to encourage broadcasters to carry coverage of European issues such as the daily value of the euro. It denied that the budget was anywhere near as big as Free Britain alleged.

Obviously the EU is engaged in various forms of state-building. I read in issue 1 of the Europe Quarterly - an Edinburgh-based journal whose launch was delayed by a legal threat from a group of right-wing Euro-sceptics - that the European Parliament is considering a subsidised Euro-history textbook. The idea is ridiculed by the historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, who writes: "No device is more calculated to inspire rebellion in student minds than exposure to this sort of easily detected propaganda."

The same could be said of the endless succession of junkets for journalists organised by the European Parliament. I have yet to meet a single writer flown over to Brussels or Strasbourg at EU expense who was duped into becoming a Europhile.

The great difficulty for starry-eyed Euro-idealists is that there is no newspaper or broadcasting organisation committed to constructing a pan-European consciousness. Even Europe's intelligentsia (the people who have traditionally practised l'art de penser a l'europeenne) have few forums in which to exchange ideas and argument. As Peter McGowan and Perry Anderson observe in the introduction to a new book of essays, The Question of Europe (Verso): "The overwhelming bulk of writing about Europe remains sub-European in context and consequence ... untranslated and unfamiliar beyond its country of origin."

Andrew Neil declared recently: "I will make The European an essential read for the people running Europe." A highly ambitious mission statement. Pity he marred the much better designed tabloid format by splashing the word ACHTUNG! across the front page of the first issue - a banner headline that must have struck more of a chord with Little English collectors of Commando war comics than with decision-makers on the continent.

Meanwhile, the rest of the "pan-European" media are heavily controlled by American multi-media conglomerates. EBN is a perfect case in point: it is 75 per cent owned by Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal (which now has an expanding European edition). The other quarter is owned by Flextech, another American concern.

Yet, for some strange reason, the fact that global empire-builders based in New York or Los Angeles are set to become masters of the digi-verse doesn't seem to bother the Campaign for an Independent Britain.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Sauce Recruitment: New Media Marketing Manager - EMEA - Digital Distribution

£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003