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
US comedian Bill Mahr
people
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Sport
football
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Life and Style
Models – and musicians – on the catwalk in Dior Homme for the men’s 2015/16 fashion show in Paris
fashionAt this season's Paris shows, various labels played with the city boys' favourite
News
i100
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

Sauce Recruitment: Programme Sales Executive - Independent Distributor

£25000 - £28000 per annum + circa 28K + 20% bonus opportunity: Sauce Recruitme...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Are you an ambitious, money mot...

Guru Careers: Investment Writer / Stock Picker

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A freelance Investment Writer / Stock Picker ...

Guru Careers: PPC Account Executive / Paid Search Executive

£20 - 24K + Benefits: Guru Careers: An enthusiastic PPC Account / Paid Search ...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us