18 September 2006

A Eurosceptic paper?

Buried in the nether regions of The Daily Telegraph business section today is the most remarkable claim that "UK is now top dog in Brussels".

The story is penned by Edmund Conway who has previewed an as-yet unpublished report by the Europhile group "Business for New Europe" (BNE), comprised in the main of refugees from the now defunct Britain in Europe – itself an offshoot of the European Movement.

I cannot imagine that the Telegraph's Edmund Conway was totally unaware of these Europhile links, especially as the current chairman of BNE, Roland Rudd, is a former board member of Britain in Europe and the board is stacked with members like Leon Brittan, former EU commissioner.

But if Conway was aware of these links, he did not see fit to pass the knowledge on to his readers, telling us that the report was to be "published today by a group of leading businessmen." Only later in the piece does he identify the BNE and then only as a "campaign group" whose backers include WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, Carphone Warehouse chief executive Charles Dunstone, Reuters chairman Sir Niall Fitzgerald - to a man enthusiastic Europhiles.

We then get the undiluted message that BNE wishes to present – with not a hint of critical appraisal – followed by a quote from "Former European Commissioner Christopher Tugendhat". He is allowed to say, "This is a timely reminder of how much the European Commission has changed in recent years." But not said in Conway's piece is that Tugendhat is also a member of the advisory council of – you guessed it, Business for New Europe.

The funny thing is that many people are still under the impression that The Daily Telegraph is a eurosceptic newspaper. If it is, it has a funny way of showing it.