Peter Oborne attacks BBC and FT for pro-euro bias
Telegraph man points finger at euro progagandists – and warns radio listeners to avoid ‘Y Euros’ like the plague
YOU CAN'T keep Peter Oborne out of the radio studios today as he hawks his pamphlet Guilty Men around town.
In it, the Daily Telegraph political pundit alleges that the CBI, the BBC, the Financial Times and a slew of politicians and journalists have all been guilty down the years of horrendous pro-European bias and that if it wasn't for the heroic effects of certain euro-sceptics, we'd be in even more of a mess than we are now.
The title Guilty Men is taken from the famous book published in 1940 that criticised those members of the national government who advocated appeasement in the run-up to World War Two. That book was written anonymously; only later were the three authors identified as Michael Foot, Frank Owen and Peter Howard.
There is nothing anonymous about this one, co-written by Oborne and Francis Weaver, both of whom clearly believe the euro-boosters are no less a ghastly bunch than Hitler's appeasers.
The culprits, according to Oborne and Weaver, include current coalition ministers Danny Alexander, Nick Clegg and Ken Clarke, former PM Tony Blair, newspaper columnists David Aaronovitch, Will Hutton and the late Hugo Young, and the former FT editor, Andrew Gowers.
Gowers and other editors and staff of the pink 'un must take a lot of the blame. "The FT flung itself headlong into the pro-euro camp, embracing the cause with an almost religious passion," Oborne and Weaver write in a Spectator article to launch Guilty Men.
Any euro-sceptics, they say, were mocked by the paper's chief political columnist Philip Stephens. "Immaturity is the kind explanation," Stephens sneered – Oborne and Weaver's word – when William Hague came out against the single currency.
A similar attitude was in place at the BBC, they say. Rod Liddle, then editor of the Radio 4's Today programme, is quoted as saying: "The whole ethos of the BBC and all the staff was that euro-sceptics were xenophobes." Liddle recalled a meeting with a senior BBC figure over euro-sceptic complaints of bias. "Rod, the thing you have to understand is these people are mad. They are mad."
The heroes of Oborne and Weaver's pamphlet are Hague and other politicians who stood up to be counted, warning that the single currency would never work. Their numbers include Iain Duncan Smith, dismissed as a "hysterical fanatic", and right-winger John Redwood.
Of course, Oborne is entitled to his view. Whether he should have gone as far as he did on Radio 2's Jeremy Vine Show today is another matter. There he warned listeners that any euros they hold printed in Greece will be worthless the moment Greece defaults. "If you see the letter Y on a euro, honestly, avoid it like the plague," he said. ·
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