Sunday, 10 November 2013

What The Prime Ministers Didn't Say

One thing I have found myself doing is "debating" the European Union on the letters page of the local paper, and there is one thing I find about the UK Independence Party lobby - either they don't use any facts or evidence to back their case, or else they use "evidence" and "facts" that are not true.

Take for example, the first letter I wrote in the link (the second one didn't get published). The UKIP person's response can be summed up:

  • My claim that the European Parliament votes on the European Commission is "complete nonsense" - the Parliament voting on the Commission does not happen.
  • The EU is undemocratic
  • I need to learn about the EU - #irony.

The interesting thing is that facts and evidence produced by the UKIP correspondents are made up.

The other trick is to expect you to prove beyond all possible doubt that the latest Euromyth in the Daily Express is not true. Sorry, the burden of proof is on those who claim that "Europe" has secret plans.

And this brings me to a couple of things today. The first is the claim that Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said he would not honour the result of a referendum vote to leave the EU.

This was an interview Cameron gave to El Pais in March (so why it is news now is beyond me). And this is what the website of Trevor Colman, UKIP Member of the European Parliament for South West England says that Cameron said:

In case of a Yes victory in the referendum that will organize on leaving the EU, would you be willing to withdraw from the Union?

And Cameron's response:

I would not. (No me gustaría)

That Cameron makes such an admission - of willfully ignoring a referendum vote - in a foreign newspaper is revealing. Truly he's the child of Europe, his hero evidently instead is Barroso (EU Commission President):

“They must go on voting until they get it right."

Slightly amazingly "cast-iron" has managed to sink even lower.

The link is given to the Boiling Frog website, which then links to an article by Richard North. At which point a warning klaxon rings in my mind.

And North has Cameron stating in El Pais:

The paper refers to the premier's speech of 23 January, when he announced his intention to hold a referendum, and Cameron is then asked whether, if the referendum went against him, he would be willing to withdraw from the EU. And his answer is blunt and to the point: "I would not. What I would like is to get reform of the European Union".

And, to make things easier for those of us who want to find out for ourselves what Cameron actually said - and so enabling us to call BS on North - he provides a link to what El Pais. By doing that North has picked up a shotgun, pointed at each foot in turn, and pulled the trigger:

No me gustaría. Lo que me gustaría es conseguir una reforma de la Unión Europea. Ese es el sentido de mi discurso. La UE está madura para sufrir una reforma. Nos encontramos en una carrera planetaria en la que debemos competir con países como China, India, Indonesia, Malasia. Es necesaria una Europa más abierta, más competitiva, más flexible. Ese es nuestro objetivo.

Let's have a look at the Spanish verb gustar - which means "to like", when used in the conditional tense. We can see that me gustaría means "I would like". So No me gustaría means "I would not like".

So, Cameron is saying he would not like a "no" vote in a referendum on EU membership - a completely different thing to what North, Colman and others in UKIP claim he is saying.

What does UKIP have to gain by falsley claiming that Cameron said he would not abide by a vote to leave the EU? Surely to discourage people who are planning to vote Conservative for the very reason that Cameron is offering a referendum.

The second Prime Minister I am thinking of is Italy's Enrico Letta, and a quote doing the UKIP rounds about him is:

Allowing ordinary people to vote freely is not in their own interest

Bizarrely, on UKIP's Facebook page, this "quote" is given in the context of Letta "advocating postponement of the 2014 EU elections". Eh?

I am looking for a source for this. One is from the Before It's News website, but I am sure people going to that site would be more interested in its article concerning "the influence that Reptilian/Grey Alien agenda and how it has infiltrated the U.S. Government since it's inseption."

Yep, UKIP gets its "facts" from a website which clearly believes the only hope for humanity is in a bunch of people who cannot use apostrophes correctly.

OK, maybe UKIP's source was this article by "Raedwald Uffinga". Interesting, it is titled "EU to 'postpone' 2014 elections?", which seems to be the latest UKIP claim - based on no evidence, of course. But no doubt, in the weeks to come it will be stated as "fact" that the EU plans to postpone them.

Maybe UKIP will actually believe its own propaganda and the day after nominations close will realise that it has not submitted any candidate lists as it belived the elections had been postponed!

And this gives that Letta quote, but let's look at the blogwriter's comment:

The article being referred to is about Letta's concerns at how the rise of populist parties could damage economic recovery. Note that at no point does Letta suggest postponing the elections.

And note also that "Raedwald Uffinga" confirms that the Letta "quote" is satire. (I wouldn't dignify it with that term).

So, neither Cameron nor Letta made the quotes UKIP are attributing to them.

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