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Didn't a certain Andrew Marr edit that paper at one time? I must say the more I see of the Independent the more it looks like a copy of Tribune. Instead of news on the front page of the Indeendent we usually get some ideological statement on a major issue of the day.

I can't really believe that anybody ever really believed that "The Independent" was Independent. It never has been!

The dinner tonight and subsequent decisions will see a tough time for Brown unless he protects our interests.

His 'red lines' may suddenly disappear under pressure from the Europeans. He has neither the charisma or charm of Blair and I am worried about the new treaty.

Failure to stand up to Europe will further cement the opinion that Brown is a 'bottler' and lacks leadership credentials.

In fairness to the Independent, I think it's published more of my - invariably right wing - letters than the rest of the press put together, including one a while back defending David Cameron, one a couple of years ago attacking gun control, and several defending Israel.

Who cares? Nobody reads the rag. The best (and only) good thing about it was the "Alex" cartoon strip which it soon lost to the Telegraph.

This cover "story" is probably an attempt to recreate its recent jump in sales for the single day on which it ran the headline list of 50 allegedly good things about the EU. The only people who bought it that day were those who fancied a quick thrill of fury and we haven't bought it since.

Is the ‘Irish’ Independent still owned by Tony O'Reilly?

A disgrace.

My fear is that most British journalism is lazy.

We need a blog dedicated to fisking and Kelnering our newspapers.

Can't some Tory donor fund its creation?

We do need a proper right of centre paper in this country. It comes to something when even the FT was supporting Labour. We need a paper that is pro free-enterprise, pro-individual, pro-British and anti-statist. The Telegraph used to be a great paper but now its lost its sense of purpose. The Mail is ok sometimes but it dumbs down too much. Besides my grandad once told me that any newspaper that carries a horoscope isn't worth reading.

I'm not looking for any Browny points, but this website is good and provides enough information for your average activist or supporter and has links to articles in a range of national newspapers.


The blog above has some serious issues - not always kind to modern conservatives, but all the same it carries good articles.

PS. The local Labour Party (this is a hard Labour area) has just stolen our plum policy idea from the local elections and sprawled it over the local press - bereft of ideas nationally and locally.

The policy - the local authority increased parking charges and was raising around £450,000 annually from a few smallish car parks.

Our plan was to ensure the money raised from parking stayed in the town that it was raised, to be used on resident parking schemes, small environmental projects and the like.

I feel a few letters to the press coming on...

The Independent lost its original inspiration somewhere in the course of the nineteen nineties. It started out as a genuinely liberal enterprise, dedicated to free debate and the unslanted presentation of news. Now it is just another shop-soiled ornament of the lib-left establishment. It's front page is routinely the site of screaming propaganda. It's staff seem to think that just because they are supporting "liberal" (in fact socialist) causes, then their banner headlines and foaming indignation are somehow different from what the Daily Mail gets up to. Far from it. The strange, knee jerk support they give to Brussels gives the lie to that. No honest Europhil could possibly expect the current "treaty" to go through without a referendum; nor could he or she pretend that it does not represent a major step towards the much denied "superstate" of Europe. Alas, to the current generation of the establishment, truth is an obsolete idea and it is that generation which runs the "Independent".

It may be a direct rip-off from a press release/hand-out (how many media stories are not?). It may not be to your liking.

Now argue, in detail, against the points made therein.

This whole line of attack is asine. We have a free, mostly privately-owned press in this country. The Indy being of course a case in point: and being part of that free, private press, it's surely at large to take whatever political stance it wants? If it wants to attack the government, so be it. And if it wants to agree with them, so what? Is anyone here going to wet the bed the next time the Torygraph all too faithfully echoes a CCHQ briefing note? Meanwhile, pace the meat of this story, here's ten, rather more depressing questions, all answered in a Better Off Out spirit:

1. Britain is surrendering vital powers over fundamental issues of sovereignty to Brussels.

Of course this is a myth. Or can anyone name even one 'vital power' being handed over to Brussels by this treaty which is still more vital than those we lost at Maastricht, let alone as a result of the Single European Act, never mind the sodding ECA in 1972?

2. Britain will lose or have to vacate its seat on the United Nations Security Council

Again, some dimwiited Eurosceptics have claimed this. But it's just not happening, and every time one of our brethren tells an idiotic fib like this, we're doing Keith Vaz's work for him. Let's stick to the plentiful bad stuff the EU actually does without making stuff up.

3. An "EU foreign minister" will control Britain's foreign policy

Again, has been claimed, just not true. Quite the reverse in fact - the way the EU is evolving is plainly into something of a 'directory' where, if they're willing to act in harmony, the Big 4 (or 5) can dictate to the smaller fry, but the reverse of course isn't the case. We, with the French and Germans, can, in effect, over-awe the Croatians, or whoever. The tiddlers, in the unlikely instance of them acting in concert, can't over-awe us (or the French or the Germans or etc).

4. British embassies will be replaced by an EU "diplomatic service" and EU embassies

We, wrongly, were already co-locating embassies with other EEC, then EU states long before either the proposed Constitution, or this Treaty hoved into view. Indeed, we've long co-located embassies, and where applicable, high commissions with fellow Commonwealth countries. Claiming that there is a long-term conspiracy to get rid of our own sovereign, autonomous diplomatic *is* just another self-defeating myth.

5. Britain will lose control of its borders

Who are you talking to? If you're listening, I suspect, to most of the readers of this site, the response to this particular claim is all too likely to be a snarled, "we've already lost control of them". That notwithstanding, other than EU nationals, this Treaty still leaves who can come into Britain, and who can become British, as a subject solely for our own government. EU nationals obviously can swan in here whenever they want, but see European Community Act, the SEA and Masstricht for that.

6. There will be a new 'president of Europe'

No there won't. There will be an inter-governmental standing chair of the Council of ministers (as opposed to the current, 6 monthly rotating one). So what? If it's Tony Blair, does anyone seriously think the French, for example, are suddenly going to take fright that a majestical personage has now been set up superior to their own heads of state and government? No they're not. And likewise, should the president of the council turn out to be foreign, it's hardly something we need to insecurely fret about. Certainly not in comparison to the basic sovereignty-destroying fact of being in the EU at all

7. The treaty will force us to free prisoners from jail

Grow up.

8. The treaty will reduce national parliaments to the level of regional assemblies

We were told, by Enoch amongst others, that the European Communities Bill would do this. He was wrong. We were told that the SEA in 1986 would do this. It didn't. We were told that Maastricht would do this. It hasn't. All three of those things involved vastly more loss of British sovereignty than the current proposed treaty does. And likewise, it won't.

9. The treaty is the same as the Constitutional Treaty rejected in 2005

Yup. There's a huge degree of overlap, and this whole exercise is very largely Windscale-into-Sellafield. Next.

10. The treaty will lead to British workers becoming second-class citizens

And it's sh*t like this that makes it sooooo very easy for the BBC et al to portray us all as loons.

Always thought that the Indie should be done under the Trade Description Act.

The only good thing about the Indy, is that you get handed a free copy at conference!!!

Even though the Independent isn't, it did give DC a chance to voice his ideas when the polls were very bad for the party.

There are two opposing camps here: those prepared to argue the case (thank you, Realistic Europhobe at 22:25: well said) and the "shoot-the-messengers".

Might I throw in another source, yesterday's Irish Times?

There are a number of items linked to a speech by John Bruton (former Taoiseach, and now EU Ambassador to the US). Since the "Wogs begin at Calais, Cardiff and Carlisle" types need to get out more, here's an opportunity to engage with a different take on reality.

Among the points:
"All constitutional trappings - EU flags and anthems - attached to the now defunct EU constitution have been deleted from the new text, which, though it looks ugly, could still prove effective."

"As the Taoiseach, Beretie Ahern, observed at a summit in June, the new treaty retains 90 per cent of the substance of the constitution ... Critical elements such as putting a single person in charge of EU foreign relations remain, as does the new post of president of the European Coucil - a position that some diplomats believe Mr Ahern may have his eye on." [So much for the wind-and-froth about Blair.]

There are the usual descriptions of how the draft differs from the constitution. Three are highlighted - the new voting system based on population, the new European diplomatic service, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights - which "London says ... will not apply to it (Poland has followed suit)."

Remaining issues are noted: "the opt-outs from justice and home affairs decisions" (where Poland and Ireland are demurring) and the Ioannina Compromise. The Italian objection to the population weighting is also mentioned.

One further aspect gets attention: "Countries which opt out of the justice and home affairs issues ... should expect to have less influence on the policy being adopted." That, in itself, seems obvious. Bruton develops that to add "he believed the proposal to introduce majority voting in the area of justice was very important if Europe was to 'act cohesively' against terrorism." Where I am sitting, that last phrase is a consummation devoutly to be wished: my recollection is that (until the 7/7 events) UK attitudes were 'softer' than those of, say, the French DST.

I find it interesting that Bruton is not necessarily arguing for greater powers at EU centre: "The more you introduce opt-outs into the EU, the more you introduce [problems of 'variable geometry'] ... We should work hard to avoid them, even if at times it means reducing our ambitions" (my emphasis).

Finally, Bruton argues against a referendum (remember: Ireland is constitutionally bound to have one): "I believe very strongly in the Dáil or the Senate ... taking the decision for the people and the people deciding whether they want to throw them out, on the basis of that decision, at the next election."

Someone above says: "I can't really believe that anybody ever really believed that "The Independent" was Independent. It never has been!"

As implied by other posters above, it's not "never". It was pretty independent for a few years from its founding in around 1987 and I was an enthusiastic reader until the time of the Maastrich treaty negotiation in autumn 1991. It had shown glimmerings of gloating at Mrs T's fall in 1990 but had still just about held its balance together during that. It was in 1991 that it first started its campaigning front pages with, just like this one, a polemic in favour of an EU treaty. That coincided with the Alex cartoon moving to the Telegraph, and I moved with it.

After the Indy had been going a year or two, there was a proper opinion poll of its readership which showed that it was pretty much in line with the national balance of support for the three main political parties, with the only exception being that Lib Dems (or whatever they were called then) were a bit above their national rating (but even amonst Indy readers still well below Labour and the Conservatives). As a result of their campaigning antics they lost this unique profile and I am sure I was not alone amongst Tories, particularly ones who opposed the Maastrich treaty, in drifting away. They then got into a vicious circle of lack of money to pay for enough journos and enough good columnists - from which they have probably never recovered. How it will help now to hack off the 70% of the population who don't like the current treaty and want a referendum, only they can know.

What is the Priority for MP's, to reflect the concerns of their constituents, or to follow the party line.

To make up for this, the Independent should do one of its often quite good front pages on neglected corners of the world, specifically on the number of MEPs and members of the Council of Ministers (including the fact that that Council meets in secret and publishes no Official Report) who are Stalinists, Trotskyists, neo-Fascists, neo-Nazis, members of Eastern Europe's kleptomaniac nomenklatura, or supporters of the theory that the the Provisional Army Council of the IRA is the sovereign body throughout Ireland.

The rise of neoconservatism in those fora (headed by the erstwhile Maoist - yes, Maoist!- who went on to be the ardently "free"-marketeering and pro-Bush Prime Minister of Portugal before being wafted into the the Presidency of the European Commission), and of its redoutable Islamist ally (now there's a whole series in itself) in the Turkish Caliphate, could also do with an airing, taking in the strong Eurofederalism, under overall American control, of the British neocons organised in and as the Henry Jackson Society (Gove, Vaizey, Boles, et al).

It has always baffled me that support for the cession of power to these people, and for the sorts of electoral system that throw them up, are presented as centrist causes. They could not be further from such.

So, over to the Independent?

"Peace in our time"

David Miliband's father and grandfather were avowed Communists, and therefore no friends of democracy (see

this interesting piece

from which I quote verbatim:

"It is often noted that Miliband's father and his grandfather immigrated to Britain from Belgium 67 years ago. What is not mentioned as often is how did they get to Belgium.

Miliband's father, the late Ralph Miliband, the leading British communist, and his grandfather (RM's father), the late Samuel Miliband, emigrated to Belgium from Poland. They were Polish Jews, i.e. Poles of Jewish origin.

87 years ago the Soviet Army invaded Poland. David Miliband's grandfather was called to serve. As a Polish citizen he was o bliged to join the Polish military. Not only did he derelict his duty, he even joined the Soviet Army, i.e. he committed treason. After we Poles defeated the Soviets, Samuel Miliband left Poland (knowing that otherwise he would be executed as a traitor). He went to Belgium and from there to Britain.

David Miliband is a 3rd generation communist. He is a traitor just like Chamberlain, Iudas (spl?) and Bliar."

No wonder David Miliband is sensitive about the matter!

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