Tuesday, July 10, 2007

As Europhile as they come

It is all very well newspapers complaining about government "spin" but the media itself is not entirely without sin in this respect (shock!).

After the Brown – Socrates meeting yesterday, the Telegraph offered an online report with the headline, "Gordon Brown rules out EU treaty referendum", a "take" with which The Evening Standard agreed, it too carrying a remarkably similar headline: "Brown rules out referendum on EU treaty".

Yet, this morning's print edition, the Telegraph headline over much the same story had become, "Brown hints at vote on EU treaty 'to frighten federalists'", while the current online report sports the headline, "Brown hints at vote on EU treaty".

Needless to say, the thrust of the stories is all the same – that Brown is insisting that his "red lines" are respected, given which he does not consider a referendum is necessary. However, Socrates is cited as saying that he did not think there would be any difficulties satisfying the (British) government, which is hardly surprising as Brown has already conceded the game.

It is the leader, therefore, that gets the measure of the man, under its headline, "Prime minister forgets to hang tough on Europe".

"Whatever happened to the Gordon Brown who, in a previous incarnation, attempted to persuade the British electorate that he was something of a Euro-sceptic?" it asks. "That version of his persona seemed to have vanished at yesterday's joint press conference with Prime Minister José Sócrates of Portugal."

That version, of course, never existed. But then, to its credit, not even The Telegraph really believed that it did. We are looking at a prime minister who is as Europhile as they come.


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