The EU is built on myths – and sadly they have all been swallowed by The Guardian

The EU is built on myths – and sadly they have all been swallowed by <i>The Guardian</i>

The EU is built on myths. The myth that it’s preserved peace in Europe when NATO has been its main defender; the myth that it leads to an ever closer union which most of its members don’t want to go to; the myth that the euro produces growth and convergence when in it’s benefited Germany and produced debt and high unemployment in southern members; the myth that it benefits all when it’s designed to serve the manufacturing interests of Germany and the agricultural interests of France…

With mythology so crucial, it’s hardly surprising that the EU and its British supporters defend it against Brexit by a bigger collection of myths and fake economics than Donald Trump could create. We’re told that the EU is roaring ahead economically while Britain languishes because of Brexit. In fact, Britain recovered earlier from the Great Recession than the EU, and over the period since, it’s grown faster and has had higher levels of employment than most euro members.

The CER comparison between British performance and that of 30 or so other countries claimed to show that Brexit was damaging growth. It did so only by ignoring the fact that we endured a harsher austerity than nations which didn’t embark on the same folly. That was the cause of our problems, not Brexit.

Another myth is that if we don’t Leave we’ll be able to lead Europe to change. In fact, we’d be on the periphery while all the action and interest focus on the eurozone in an organisation dominated by Germany and France, which serves their interests and drains us by higher food costs and Germany’s obsession with building up huge surpluses.

All this could be dismissed as part of a myth war, were it not for the fact that it drives out rational discussion of national interests. This is best illustrated by the way it’s taken over what I once regarded as my newspaper, The Guardian.

That paper’s great editor, CP Scott, said that “comment is free, but facts are sacred”. In today’s Guardian and Observer, comment is dominated by anti-Brexit diatribes from Polly Toynbee, Danny Blanchflower, Will Hutton and Bill Keegan. Euro-coverage is dominated by euro-enthusiasts: once John Palmer, now Natalie Nougayrède who gushes enthusiasm for the EU. As for the facts, they’re mostly pro-Remain and anti-Brexit. Thank God for the occasional word of criticism of the EU from Larry Elliott.

This unbalanced selectivity has ruined many a breakfast for me. Take one example “Brexit Watch” of 26th June,which has been analysed by the economist, Bill Mitchell, in his excellent Billyblog of 4th July. He shows that most of the problems blamed on Brexit are either due to other factors or untrue. Brexit Watch tells us that the trade deficit is rising, though it’s lower than in June 2016. It claims that the pound is falling, though the IMF says it’s 15% overvalued (and Germany’s is undervalued). It says government finances are “strained”, when borrowing is down. It adds that industry “fears what’s ahead” though consumer spending is up and the latest GDP growth, though still too small, has just been doubled.

I know that a newspaper has to echo the views of its readers and The Guardian’s are now mainly middle class liberals and the Westminster elite, not shrewd Mancunians and unsophisticated Northerners. A quality paper is as entitled to its views as the Daily Express. Yet it shouldn’t preach them to the exclusion of all else, nor should it just endorse one view obsessively and dismiss any other as racist, ill-informed, deceived by lies and possibly the Daily Mail. The liberal elite isn’t the nation and certainly not the North from whence The Guardian sprang.

After grumbling a long time at The Guardian’s assumption that the EU is an organisation from which all blessings flow and Remain a fight for freedom truth and justice, I sent the Bill Mitchell analysis to The Guardian‘s “People’s Editor” to ask which people his paper now represented. I’m still awaiting his reply…