Magazine article The Spectator

Leaking and Spinning

Magazine article The Spectator

Leaking and Spinning

Article excerpt

Radio

I had to laugh last week when I awoke to Today and heard the BBC swallowing the story of the so-called leaks about the disastrous consequences of Britain staying out of the euro: the scaremongering by the government's chief executive of the Invest in Britain Bureau that there would be `meltdown' in manufacturing if Britain didn't join, and the telegram from Britain's ambassador to Tokyo warning that Japanese investment would decline.

It was also amusing to hear how the government was determined to stop this leaking when it was actually behind it. Ironically, it is thanks to BBC radio that we know what is really going on, that there's an orchestrated campaign by the European Movement, among others, and a department within the Foreign Office, to change public opinion about the single currency, doing what they did in the early 1970s to persuade MPs to vote for Britain's entry and the public to support Britain's membership, both then and in advance of the 1975 referendum.

Some readers might recall that in February this year I reviewed a brilliant Radio Four programme called, Document: A Letter to the Times. It told the story of how the shadowy spook-linked Information and Research Department at the Foreign Office, under its head Norman Reddaway, collaborated with the CIA-financed European Movement to win the support of the media for membership of what was then quaintly and innocently known as the Common Market. Breakfasts were held at the Connaught Hotel where ardent Europhiles tried to persuade the then BBC managing director of radio Ian Trethowan and his executives to sack presenters and reporters deemed to be opposed to the Common Market.

Letters destined for the newspaper correspondence pages were actually written for pro-European MPs and businessmen to sign. It was a secret campaign, approved by the prime minister Edward Heath and using civil servants for political purposes. (Evidence of how it's happening again will be gratefully received, in confidence, at my e-mail address: michael.vestey@btinternet.com). So now you know why I croakily laughed out loud that and subsequent mornings. They are at it again! We know the breakfasts are still being held because the man who organised them for the Foreign Office and the European Movement, public relations man Geoffrey Tucker, said as much to Christopher Cook, the presenter of Document: A Letter to the Times. This is how the exchange went: Tucker: `I have breakfasts for Europe, yes. …

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