Could the Daily Express be more wrong?

Labour Party

373,000 people have signed a petition saying that they want the U.K. to leave the European Union.  That does seem like quite a lot, but the petition was organised by the Daily Express, which carries a rather triumphalist story involving their political editor and a few MPs delivering the signatures to Number 10.

Let’s leave aside for one moment the arguments against such a move and focus instead on the story itself.  I must take exception with Tory MP, Philip Hollobone, who is quoted in the article as saying:

“Congrat­ulations to the Daily Express for saying so clearly what most of Britain actually feels.”

Now last time I checked 373,000 does not represent a majority of the British voting public.  Given that this was a campaign run by the Express for quite a while, it might be worth pointing out to Mr. Hollobone that it’s well under two-thirds of the Daily Express readership, whose circulation is around 640,000.

Given that, I’m not sure on what authority Mr Hollobone can say anything about “what most of Britain actually feels”.

It isn’t much of a surprise that Daily Express readers are not too fond of the EU, given that particular publications penchant for publishing sensationalist, under researched and often downright wrong information about the European Union.  They are famously one of the most prolific peddlers of the ‘Euromyth‘.

Leaving the EU would be absolutely disastrous for our economy.  At a time when we are looking for ways out of a serious financial crisis, cutting ourselves off from, or at least severely damaging links with, our primary export market seems like wanton madness.  It would also ruin the lives of many British workers currently with jobs through-out the EU and the many people from other member states currently contributing to the UK economy.

I don’t believe this is what most people in the UK want as they are generally a sensible bunch.  It clearly isn’t even what all the Daily Express readers want either.

3 thoughts on “Could the Daily Express be more wrong?

  1. I am told that the politicians say the arguments for the EU are economic, and the economists say the arguments are political.

    I for one have an economics training.

    Put it another way… how disastrous is it for Norway and Switzerland not to be in the EU?

  2. Mary,

    If Brown had thought for a moment that he was likely to win a referendum on the Lisbon Consitution, he would have gone for it like a shot. But he didn’t & bottled out.

    Has there ever been a cost benefit analysis of our EU membership? It seems to me that they want us more than we want them because we are net contributor.

    373,000 “of those who expressed an opinion” (to use the cat food phrase) is more than 50% of the readership & in that sense more than the vote share of most election winning parties. What can any politician subjectively say about “what most of Britain wants”? Lets put it to the test.

    Euromyths usually seem to have a kernel of truth & exist because it’s what people expect the meddling EU to be doing anyway.


  3. It is greatly to Mary’s credit that she brings up the subject of the UK’s appetite for leaving the EU. Other Federalists don’t mention it and carry on blithely entrenching us more and more deeply in this political union despite our distaste for it.

    I would though, question the assumption that it was signed by Daily Express readers because they had been fed so many Euro Myths. I signed the petition but I am not a reader of the Daily Express, I also persuaded many others to sign it who do not read the paper.

    The desire to leave the EU is a widespread one and it is not confined to the readers of any particular newspaper or indeed any political party. Mary mentions the Tory MP Philip Hollobone but Kate Hoey a Labour MP and former Labour minister also signed and also went to Downing Street to present the petition.

    That it is a petition not a poll is obvious and its conclusions should not be confused with the later. There is actually no reason to claim it as an opinion poll because opinion polls show that there are more of us want to leave the EU than those of us would like to stay.

    Before looking at the many polls showing that the British public favour Home Rule over federalism, it might be worth examining the comments about leaving the EU having disastrous economic consequences for the UK. This Euro myth that our withdrawal from the EU would ruin our economy is a persistent one but the logic of those who perpetuate this mythology is deeply flawed. The error is to assume that leaving the EU would mean that we would not be able to trade with it. This obviously nonsensical; non-EU European countries like Switzerland, Norway and Iceland trade with the EU and countries beyond the EU trade with it.

    The problem with the UK’s trade with the EU is a very simple one. The problem is that it does not make us any money! For years we have traded at a profit with every continent in the world except for the Europe.

    Being a member of the EU does nothing for UK employment either. The EU destroys UK jobs. Of the new jobs which have appeared since the Coalition, most have gone to foreign workers. It is difficult to understand the logic of importing unskilled workers at a time of high unemployment. Sometimes it benefits the country from which the new workers come but it does not benefit UK except in a limited number of cases.

    It could not be claimed all polls show an absolute majority of UK citizens favouring a withdrawal from the EU but an overall majority for UK Home Rule is clear. Here are some interesting polls.

    December 2010. Angus Reid. 48% for withdrawal and 27% for staying in.

    2011. Poll by the EU’s own Eurobarometer. Only 49% in favour of the EU in the EU and in the UK only 27%

    Sept 2010 YouGov. In the UK 47% want to leave the EU and 33% want to stay in.

    March 2009. ComRes for the BBC Daily Politics. In the UK 55% want to leave the EU

    June 2009. In the UK 39% to leave the EU and 38% want to stay in it.

    March 2009. BBC Comres 55% of Britons want to leave the EU 41% want to stay in.

    It should be noted that in every one of these polls the number of UK citizens wanting Home Rule is greater than the number wanting to be in the EU.

    None of these polls was conducted among readers of the Daily Express, UKIP’s monthly magazine or the newsletter of the Campaign for an Independent Britain. They were done on a scientific basis by respected polling organisations – one of them by the EU itself.

    The polls show a thumbs down for Federalism.

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