Monday, October 5, 2009

Pathetic and bathetic

There are bad arguments, deceitful arguments, and there is the kind of raving nutcase stuff peddled by the Europhobic fringe.

Let's be positive to begin:

The estimable Slugger O'Toole ran a series of threads, all of which derive from the Irish Referendum campaign and its aftermath. If the blogosphere needed a monument, look around Slugger's essays on the Lisbon Treaty, published over recent weeks.

Despite these essays, for and against, having a consistent balanced and thoughtful tone, such decency, intelligence and logic didn't rub off on the more drooling window-lickers. One searing late example has to be from Dave @ 07:52 PM, yesterday:
... membership of the EU is not in the UK’s national interest, costing it circa £118 billion a year
Malcolm wonders if Dave @ 07:52 PM could cite an authenticating source for that figure; and, if so, would he even defend it.

It comes, perhaps predictably, from our old innumerate friends, the Taxpayers Alliance. To help Dave @ 07:52 PM and others taken in by this guff, it appeared on the Daily Telegraph website last 18th March:
The UK-based lobby group says that, annually, the total cost of British membership of the 27-member club is £118 billion.

This contrasts sharply with Commission statistics which show that in 2007, the most recent year for which figures are available, Britain’s net contribution to the EU totalled some £3.8 billion.
A Modest Proposal

Somehow Malcolm doubts that Dave has actually read the document from which that bit of proselytising derives -- David Craig and Matthew Elliott, The Great European Rip-Off, How the Corrupt, Wasteful EU is Taking Control of our Lives. The moderate, nay -- modest, nature of this title assures us that the content will be equally scholarly and equitable. As does the blurb on the back cover:
David Craig and Matthew Elliott smash through the secrecy and disinformation that are the Brussels hallmark to reveal what our European rulers are really getting up to. The result is a horrifying story of bureaucracy, hypocrisy and kleptocracy – and how we are all suffering as a result.
Well, perhaps not.

It goes without saying that this seminal text comes highly self-recommended via the likes of ConHome.

How did David Craig and Matthew Elliott achieve this convenient mega-inflation? Well:
The Taxpayers’ Alliance bases its figures on what it considers the “real, underestimated and hidden” costs of EU membership.

These include Britain’s direct contributions to the EU, the cost to UK business of complying with and administering EU regulations, EU administration costs and also higher food prices, said to result from implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy.
Even the polemic’s authors do not endorse Dave @ 07:52 PM's reading:
'The book tries to find a total cost of the EU but does not suggest that it is all waste or that it could be eliminated overnight.

“However, an estimate of the total cost provides an important guide to the burden placed on member countries’ economies and their citizens due to EU membership.”
So: €4.1 Bn in real life = "circa £118 billion a year" in TPA money. And Declan Ganley’s financial accountancy is said to be opaque!

But—hey!—if a lie is big enough,
and repeated often enough,
someone will be daft enough to believe it.

Malcolm posted the bulk of that to the Slugger O'Toole thread noted above. Sphere: Related Content

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