The Daily Telegraph, having nailed its flag firmly to the mast of Tony Blair swanning over to Brussels in June to sign a new EU treaty, is having difficulty coming to terms with the simple fact that it got it wrong.
Thus, even in a measured report on the status of negotiations, the first three paragraphs must be discarded as self-serving fluff, designed only to save face.
Only then to we get to the substance, when we are told that the details of any new treaty "will be hammered out between at an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) starting in September and running into December". The paper cites a senior Foreign Office official involved in the negotiations, saying: "Much of the nitty-gritty, difficult work will carry over into the IGC … The summit will set the framework but there will be a lot left to do. It will not all be sorted by the time Blair goes."
Unfortunately, this intelligence does not seems to have percolated the brain of golden boy Daniel Hannan, who writes an op-ed in the same edition, telling us that "Gordon Brown is a closet Europhile".
I suppose we can be grateful, at least, that Hannan has noticed but, perhaps if he spent a little time reading his own newspaper, he might have come to that conclusion a little earlier. For instance, he could have read the leader on 11 September 2004, which told us that, "Brown only talks like a Euro-sceptic".
This was followed up on this blog the same day and many times subsequently, such as in March 2005. But we have long since given up any hope of the golden boy soiling his brain by actually reading anything that might inform his lucrative trade as an opinion-writer.
Thus it is that he is still selling the laborious myth that, "Tony Blair's last act as Prime Minister will be to sign up to the EU constitution on June 22…", contradicting the evidence of his own newspaper that this is simply not going to happen.
Hannan nevertheless, gets a rough time from the comments section, one from Tony Hannon, who notes that, every time the Telegraph does a story on Gordon Brown, someone always posts something to the effect: "xxx has finally unveiled / at last unmasked Gordon Brown as the 'insert derisory term here' he is."
Writes Hannon (not Hannan): "It's as if the newspaper isn't forever prattling on about him and Telegraph readers have sat for years in anguished silence as Gordon Brown continues to offend them."
Despite this, the golden boy will remain the darling of the Eurosceptics, wafting through life with consummate ease, fortified by his dual salaries as an MEP and leader writer (plus other nice little earners on the side). He need not trouble to inform himself, much less his readers, and can leave us to sort the wheat from the chaff.
T'was ever thus, I suppose.