Monday, July 06, 2015

How the Greek crisis is causing comfort for British euro-sceptics.

I've got a piece in the European online magazine "Vocal International" about the Greek crisis and the comfort that Syriza's unlikely allies on the British right might be gaining from it.  It's certainly been fascinating to see British Tories from both parliament and the commentariat line up alongside the left-wing Syriza to attack the European leaders.  The eurozone crisis links them both by providing a common enemy and for the Brits this really must seem like a justification of their oft stated criticism of the whole euro project.

The crisis will take some time to unfold but the ripples from its wake will surely hit up against Britain's own referendum in 2017.  Eurosceptics will be hoping that a Greek exit will help to sour the whole EU image in the minds of British voters.  Europhiles might be concerned that after one exit, another will seem rather less of a big deal.

The Telegraph and the BBC

The Telegraph seems to have reduced its editorial column; I'm sure it's narrower than it used to be.  Whether that is a commentary on the reducing number of writers and journalists the Telegraph seems to have, or simply a reflection of the fact that it no longer has much to say on its own account I'm not sure.  After all, a couple of weeks ago it devoted its main comment article for two days to extracts from the "Business for Britain" manifesto; much cheaper than getting its own hacks to come up with something original one presumes.

So it was with a certain glee that I read their comment in today's paper, inevitably welcoming the cuts that the government wants to inflict on the BBC.  The comment piece soon cut to the chase with its main complaint.  apparently, government money is being wasted on producing an "imperial" BBC website which competes with those of national newspapers.  Which translated broadly means that it is unfair that a public organisation be allowed to produce better and broader journalism than the increasingly lean newspaper industry.

The Telegraph has been shedding journos and writers in commendable quantities in order to ensure that its Channel Island based owners get a good return on their investment so you can see why they might be miffed that the presence of a solid, newsworthy website still exists to show them up.  Perhaps it won't be long either before the newspaper also demands that the BBC adheres to its own brand of impartial comment by employing some serving Tory MPs as writers.

Incidentally, I noticed as well that the "world class" newspaper journalism represented by the Telegraph had to print a correction to its Nicola Sturgeon story from the election, although they did at least manage to squash it on the bottom of page 2 beneath the glowing spread of hard news reportage on the royal christening.