Guido has spoken to several Remainers recently who have expressed bewilderment at the Guardian’s Brexit coverage. Their view is that among the Remain media, the Times, FT and online publications are streets ahead because the Guardian keeps getting basic facts wrong. Look at these examples from the last few days…
Today they have the headline: “Boris concedes UK will have to pay for Brexit”. Eh? Every sensible Leaver including Boris accepted from the outset that Britain needs to meet its financial obligations. When Boris said “go whistle” he was talking about the €100 billion figure being bandied about by the EU. You can reads his quotes – “go whistle” referred to “the sums that I have seen that they propose to demand from this country seem to me to be extortionate”. He never said we wouldn’t pay anything. This is basic stuff, the Guardian is misleading its readers to wrongly make it look like Boris is u-turning.
Earlier this week the Guardian reported the government’s proposal for a system of civil judicial cooperation is a “climbdown from its promise of judicial independence”. As pro-Remain experts pointed out, this was wrong. The Guardian had misinterpreted the position paper – it was about child custody, divorce and small business disputes, a separate issue from judicial independence and the ECJ. This is either embarrassing incompetence or deliberate spinning just to blindly attack the government. Not sure which is worse.
Then there was the Guardian’s Brussels correspondent Jennifer Rankin, who snarked in response to Emmanuel Macron’s attempts to reform posted worker rules: “Imagine if David Cameron had tried to change EU free movement rules with other EU countries instead of alone”. As pro-Remain journalists pointed out to Rankin, freedom of movement and posted worker rules are not the same thing. And say what you like about Cameron’s renegotiation, the idea he didn’t try to win support from other EU countries is just factually incorrect.
Best of the lot is Martin Kettle’s analysis in today’s paper. He reckons the government’s position papers make the case for staying in the single market and customs union and u-turn on the ECJ. Then Martin hilariously writes: “None of them quite say this, of course.” Correct, in real life the position papers make clear we are leaving the single market, customs union and ECJ. This is just wishful thinking from Kettle, it isn’t based in reality. Not sure how it got past the editing process.
Guido has noticed pro-Remain journalists falling into two camps recently. Some are becoming more practical, more pragmatic, sensibly and accurately reporting the Brexit process having accepted we are leaving. Others, the Guardian and Open Britain crowd, are in denial. They are embarrassing other Remainers and doing a disservice to their readers…
UPDATE: Craig Oliver on the renegotiation point: