Saturday, November 20, 2004

The sewers of Brussels

No, not a story about the Urban Waste Water Directive, and the spelling is wrong – for "sewers" read "suers", of the legal type.

Some EU previous commissioners, particularly from the bit of the country that that was left off an EU brochure recently, acquired a ferocious reputation for resorting to high-paid libel lawyers. Many ended up tens of thousands of pounds richer, creamed out of the coffers of unwilling newspapers, when their journalists were less than precise in their stories.

To judge from the coverage in the Daily Mail of the Barrot story, it seems too that M. Barrot may shortly be very much wealthier. Its headline blares out an accusation that cannot be repeated here, otherwise this Blog may be joining the ranks of those who will shortly be receiving an expensive solicitor’s letters.

Suffice to say that M. Barrot was most definitely not convicted of anything that could be interpreted as self-enrichment. The crime for which he was found guilty, as set out in our previous post (see link above) related to the "laundering" of illegal donations for use in the presidential election campaign of 1995.

Mr Farage, in the Mail piece, has also made some unfortunate comments – which were not aired on the floor of the EU parliament, and could not, therefore, be covered under the heading of factual reporting. He may find that he has cost the Mail a substantial amount of money.

Those readers who are tempted to refer publicly to this matter, therefore, are enjoined to read very carefully the previous posting, and confine themselves to the facts, as they are known, and not the somewhat misjudged accusations of an MEP who has clearly been poorly briefed.

Otherwise, they may become rather too familiar with the wrong sort of sewer.

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