This book traces how right-wing newspapers in Britain helped shape British public opinion about the European Union over the course of the 20 years preceding the EU referendum in June 2016. The author argues that newspapers such as the Telegraph, Mail, Sun and Express have been effectively waging a long-term propaganda war, with the distortions and borderline fake news presented one of the factors that helped secure the narrow majority for Brexit. Written by an EU insider, the book presents hard facts and debunks the core myths on EU laws, exorbitant budget contributions and uncontrolled immigration, and contributes to the broader debate on the importance of the press for democracy.
Table of Contents
PART I: BACKGROUND
2. The history of the UK’s relations with the EU: from reliable if sometimes awkward partner to estranged outsider
2.1 Love match or marriage of convenience?
2.2 The first 20 years
2.3 The battle of Maastricht, normalization under Labour, the explosive rise of Euroscepticism
2.4 Referendums versus representative democracy
2.5 The run-up to the referendum
2.6 The referendum campaign
3. National identity, the British media and press propaganda
3.1 British identity and attitudes – a complex amalgam of history, geography and much else, with nostalgia and nationalism thrown into the mix
3.2 The British media landscape
3.3 The Eurosceptic British press – socio-political background
3.4 Is the British press really more Eurosceptic than that of Continental countries?
3.6 Introduction to Part II
PART II: BUSTING MYTHS
4. “Taking back control of our laws”: I. Democracy
4.1 Introduction: Democracy and sovereignty
4.2 Democracy: The EU legislative process - is it democratic?
4.3 The European (EU) Commission
4.4 The Council of Ministers: The inconvenient legislator
4.5 The European Parliament
4.4 The “democratic deficit”
5. “Taking back control of our laws”: II. Sovereignty
5.1 The scope, volume and quality of EU legislation, now and in the future
5.2 How far will EU integration go? Is it moving inexorably to a European” super-state”?
5.4 Red tape
5.5 Is the EU fit for purpose?
5.6 The European Court of Justice
6. “Taking back control of our money”: The cost of EU membership
6.1 The EU budget
6.2 The UK budget contribution: £350 million a week – an exercise in populist economics
6.3 Audit and financial management
6.4 Fraud, corruption
6.5 The cost of Brexit for public finances – Taking back control?
7. “Taking back control of our borders”: Is the EU to blame for immigration?
7.1 State of immigration in the UK
7.2 Climate of opinion towards immigration – tolerant coexistence strained by some real grievances, but also by engineered anger and fear
7.3 The 2015-16 European migrant crisis
7.4 Coverage of immigration and the 2015-16 European migrant crisis in the British press and its effect on the EU referendum
7. 5 Outlook – immigration policy after Brexit
PART III: CONCLUSION