Saturday, May 21, 2005

The love that dare not speak its name

It is rather ironic that, in my commentary to the Booker column of 8 May, I made the following observation:

Once again, the malign influence of the EU is to the fore. If only people were more aware of what was going on – beyond that band of devotees who read the Booker column every week – we would all be better off.
As it happens, I was commenting on the situation in Botswana but it was that same week that the column carried as its lead story the changes to the system of magazine distribution in this country, instigated in order to bring the UK into line with EU law, that threatens the very survival of many of the periodicals produced in this country and put up to 12,000 retailers out of business.

But now – at least yesterday – The Guardian carried the same story in one of its leaders, under the title: "It ain't broke". Decrying the proposed changes, it noted that the only people likely to gain were large retailers with existing distribution networks. The losers, it said, will probably be everyone else, since higher prices throughout the supply chain will be passed on to publisher and consumer. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it, is a good rule of thumb," the leader concluded.

However, there was a singular difference between the Booker story and The Guardian contribution. Booker had tracked down the driver behind the proposed change – the British government's insistence that UK practice be brought into line with EU competition law, whereas The Guardian put the blame entirely on the Office of Fair Trading, which is administering the changes on behalf of the government – with not a single mention of the EU.

It really is quite remarkable how many times this happens, with the most Europhile newspapers so anxious to conceal from their readers the malign effects of the organisation they so love. The same goes for pro-EU blogs, few though they are, which are so often remarkably silent on the adverse effects of the "project".

That, in itself, tells you all you need to know about the project. The Euro-luvvies may fawn over their construct, but it is a love that dare not speak it name.

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