Saturday, October 15, 2016
Brexit and the edge of reason
I often tell – and, I admit, delight in the comic irony – of the time I subbed a piece one Saturday afternoon for the Sunday Telegraph praising the way John Major effectively saw off a back-bench revolt, only to skip across town to do the late-stop on the S. Mirror and get stuck into the same story - telling how party “rebels” had a now red-faced PM bang to rights. But that’s politics. I cared only that the copy sang. To what tune was not an issue when it came to time and a half for the anti-social nature of the shift. So, I wasn’t surprised to learn that Boris Johnson, entirely coincidentally, a Telegraph staffer at around that time, was just as, shall we say, flexible with his political “angle” when it came to penning his thoughts on the EU. aircraft carrier through the English Channel as a sign of open defiance over Syria. According to Shipman, the article was written two days before Bozza’s surprise announcement that he would campaign to leave the EU. So the story goes; he had already written one Telegraph column arguing a case for leaving, then wrote the Remain piece as a way of clarifying his thoughts, before doing a final pro-Brexit one for publication. Sky News’ Jon Craig goes behind the scenes on the intrigue in what appears more reminiscent of Brian Rix than the likes of Jim Hacker or Malcolm Tucker. But for the rest of us, it does make it ever more difficult to appear positive when faced with the usual down-the-pub attacks about how you can’t believe half of what you read in the papers. no less than 300 of them so far. That's one of their graphics above. In tandem with others, it’s the work of the former BBC investigative reporter Jon Danzig, not one I've ever known to pull his punches – and, from first reading, appears to do a far better job of challenging the sort of outrageous spin, half-truths and downright untruths behind the Leave campaign than David Cameron, George Osborne and Jeremy Corbyn could muster between them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be either out of a job, or struggling to keep them - and the country wouldn’t be in the desperate state it is now. It’s gloomy reading in places but worth bookmarking as there's, sadly, lots more to come.