The FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS section of the BBC News website's Politics page (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/default.stm) features an article called 'UK humbled?' by BBC business reporter Kabir Chibber (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8459301.stm).
This reports at some length from a conference on London held to discuss the UK's role in the EU "as the financial crisis recedes from memory". The conference was organised by two pro-European think tanks, the Centre for European Reform and Business for New Europe. That the BBC would base a long article on the proceedings of two pro-European think tanks is unsurprising, isn't it, given the Beeb's long-standing Europhilia? Are there any balancing articles on the website reporting (at such length) from conferences organised by Eurosceptic think tanks? (I've had a good hunt and can't find any.)
A lot of the article is given over to the views of Lord Mandelson, but the overall message is that the 'European model' (i.e. Germany and France) has been seen to have triumphed over the 'Anglo-Saxon model'. Also that "the much stricter regulatory regime and greater role of the state in the economy of both eurozone countries (France and Germany) was attributed for this quick recovery." (The UK's failure to come out of recession not having anything to do with Brown and Co. having spend all our money before the financial crisis hit then?). One of the report's other concern is to soothe our fears over Michel Barnier, the EU's new (French) internal market's commissioner - no friend of the 'Anglo-Saxon' model. Kabir Chibber (and Lord Mandelson) assure us there's nothing to worry about this arch-interventionist. We'll see.
Chibber's article is also notable for its marginalisation (what a horrible word!) of counterbalancing voices. Godfrey Bloom of UKIP is alluded to in passing, as is Conservative MEP Syed Kamall. They are not given a voice though, unlike Lord Mandelson, Roland Rudd of Business for New Europe (and a close confident of Lord Mandelson) and Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform. If there were to be an article based on a conference organised by Eurosceptic think tanks, would opposing voices be banished then? I doubt it.
The only other European policy think tank encountered on my rounds this week was the European Policy Centre, whose director Jacki Davis appeared in a report from Adam Fleming on Wednesday's The Daily Politics. This is also staunchly pro-European.
Saturday Seven Up
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