Younger readers will not know that “Guilty Men” was a book written by Michael Foot, Frank Owen and Peter Howard, published in 1940, attacking the leading establishment figures of the day for their appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. As denunciations go it is the classic and an equal to Émile Zola’s J’accuse. Peter Oborne and Francis Weaver have entitled their new pamphlet to be published by the CPS tomorrow “Guilty Men“ in a conscious echo of that great score settler. It is a coruscating attack on those who would have entangled Britain in the disastrous euro.
Their premise is that “Very rarely in political history has any faction or movement enjoyed such a complete and crushing victory as the Conservative Eurosceptics. The field is theirs. They were not merely right about the single currency, the greatest economic issue of our age — they were right for the right reasons.” This is not a mere opus of a gloat, they name and shame the establishment figures who shamelessly exaggerated, lied and eulogised on behalf the euro and the European Project and have yet to apologise for the disaster they would have wrought. The institutions who are guilty include the CBI, BBC and of course the Financial Times. The guilty men include the shameless pundits who smeared their opponents, for example David Aaronovitch, who compared David Owen to Oswald Moseley and Enoch Powell because the founder of the SDP had become sceptical of the wisdom of the euro currency. Andrew Rawnsley, Chris Patten, Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Michael Heseltine, Ken Clarke, Charles Kennedy, Danny Alexander and from business Niall FitzGerald, Adair Turner and David Simon figure among the guilty men. It is instructive and amusing to remind ourselves of the hysterical claims and wild accusations made by these europhiles. Though this isn’t referred to in the text, it occurs to Guido that many of the same guilty men are currently making the same kind of hysterical claims about global warming.
Oborne has employed his usual panache in delivering the charges. It is well worth reading if you enjoy the thought of europhiles squirming guiltily.