18 June – a leader calling for a referendum, “The question is whether or not a package of fairly weighty changes that will undoubtedly affect Europe’s shape and destiny should – in this country at any rate – be decided in a referendum. The answer is simple: it should and it must.”25 June – a leader opposing a referendum,
“Having dangled the prospect of a referendum last week, Mr Brown was right to bat it smartly away.”12 September – a leader calling for a referendum,
“The case against a vote on the treaty is weak. The Government’s argument that the new European treaty is significantly different from the European Constitution that was rejected by Dutch and French voters in 2005 is unconvincing. The name may have changed but it is essentially the same document on which Tony Blair promised a national plebiscite shortly before the last general election… This newspaper wants a referendum for different reasons.. Rather than trying to evade the moment of truth, Mr Brown should concentrate his energies and those of his Government on campaigning for a yes vote.”18 October – the piece
The Indy’s editor-in-chief Simon Kelner, attempting to defend the reprinting of an FCO press briefing as original journalism, claimed that “The Eurosceptics, who have monopolised this debate for so long, appear to be shooting the messenger because they don’t like the message… I am completely unapologetic about our attempt to explode the myths that have been allowed to develop in what has been an extremely one-sided debate…”.
This is an attempt to distract from the substantive issue – which is a question of journalistic ethics. No one can accuse the Indy of being one-sided on the issue, they have laughably flipped and flopped on the referendum issue:
Kelner’s credibility on this is zero. We can completely ignore the Indy’s position on the EU Referendum, it is as irrelevant as it is changeable.In America, where journalists take professional ethics more seriously, there would be resignations if a journalist plagiarised a government briefing wholesale. The substantive issue here is not whether the Indy is for or against a referendum, it is whether the Indy is a credible source of honest independent journalism, or a rag which reprints press releases uncritically. Which is it? Indy readers have a right to know if they are being peddled government spin as independent journalism on the front page.