Monday, October 20, 2014

The politics of language

My jaw just dropped to the floor watching the BBC News channel - there was a headline along the lines of "Cameron is defiant amid warnings that his plan to curb EU immigration could be illegal."

"Warnings"?  "Could be illegal"?  There's not the slightest bloody doubt that it's illegal!  This is fact, not speculation.  Freedom for EU citizens to live and work in any other member state is one of the most fundamental principles of EU law - which, for the avoidance of doubt, has supremacy over UK law, and that's a principle that has been accepted and enforced by the UK courts for decades.

It's highly instructive to see the way in which the broadcasters feel they have to pussy-foot around with their use of language in respect of the UK government's antics, even when it's a matter of plain, irrefutable fact that Cameron is proposing something he has no legal power to do.  Compare and contrast with the rather 'firmer' language they felt free to use only a few weeks ago in relation to scare stories about Scottish independence, no matter how fanciful those were.


  1. I'm amazed that you are still able to be surprised by the BBC/PRAVDA.

  2. Glad I don't pay the BBC tax.
    Still not happy with BBC hypocrisy.

  3. What you were watching the BBC! OMG

  4. It seems to me to be inevitable that the UK will leave the EU in 2017, because although I’m sure that people like Merkel will manage to swing some of the things that Cameron is looking for, in order to keep the UK in the union, the one thing she has made absolutely clear is that she is immovable on the freedom of movement between countries. And that seems to be the sticking point for Cameron’s right wing. No more foreigners on England’s green and pleasant land.

    The consequences of this could be far reaching. I think I remember reading that the EFTA countries aren’t in the least interested in having Britain as a member on the basis that they are all small or micro states, and the Uk’s 65 million people would swamp their joint populations of under 15 million. Additionally Britain in the EU lived up to President De Galle’s prediction of its behaviour: “awkward and bossy”.

    I find it hard to imagine that anyone would want the Uk in a group. Any notion that the Commonwealth will welcome Britain back as a trading partner is surely misplaced.

    It will be interesting to see if something can be done to allow Scotland to remain in the EU if it votes contrary to the UK.

  5. And what of wales and n.ireland? Should they vote to stay in?

  6. The polling I saw showed that the only country in the Uk which might vote to stay in would be Scotland.

    However clearly, if the Welsh and Ulstermen voted against they might have a case for remaining in while England withdrew.

    I can't, however, see how any of it would work, with the London government being responsible for foreign affairs

  7. On medical advice, I am required to avoid activities that would raise my blood pressure. Hence, any BBC News is totally banned. I feel so much better!

  8. Why in the name of the wee man do you continue to watch bbc???

    Do you enjoy being misinformed??

    Are you some form of masochist??


  9. "Why in the name of the wee man"

    Nick Robinson?

  10. This is where things get a little complicated in terms of the general election. The Tories are proposing certain things (scrapping the Human Rights Act, restricting free movement, an EU referendum) that I oppose so strongly it could actually make me vote Labour. The UK leaving the EU (whether we're in the UK or not) would be an utter disaster for Europe. The UK restricting free movement in the EU could result in tit for tat measures across the rest of the continent. The UK scrapping the Human Rights Act would undermine the very rights we have as citizens.

    The only way this isn't going to happen that I can see is if the Tories don't win the next election. It's tempting to go down the whole "let's trash the country and force another referendum route" but I'm as much pro-European as I am pro-independence and it's becoming increasingly difficult to balance those two perspectives.

  11. Ben, unless you live in David Mundell's constituency there's absolutely no need to vote Labour to prevent a Tory victory, because that's the only seat in which Labour can seriously claim to be best placed to keep the Tories out. In the vast majority of Scottish constituencies, the Tories don't have a cat in hell's chance of winning (that includes former Tory strongholds like East Renfrewshire), so you can vote for your preferred party without any fear of it backfiring. I suppose the only partial exception to that would be that Lib Dem voters might have some reasonable cause for concern about the rumours that they might concede an EU referendum to remain in coalition with the Tories.

  12. James, I live in David Mundell's constituency and feel no obligation to vote Labour to get rid of him. Even the fairly cautious electoral calculus web site now shows the SNP as the leading challenger in the seat, albeit with only about a 17% chance of winning compared to about 78% chance of Mundell retaining the seat.,%20Clydesdale%20and%20Tweeddale

    However, we believe that the seat is UKIP's main target in Scotland. If they succeed in making inroads into the Tory vote, we might even be in with a chance of an upset.

  13. Yougov subsample the morn.

    49% SNP
    24% Lab
    14% Con
    5% Lib
    3% Green
    3% UKIP

    I believe that's a new record SNP lead over Labour.

  14. Jeez, even Torquil Crichton taking a pop at Labour now.

    Torcuil Crichton: It's time Labour took Scots voters seriously

    Open season on them it seems now.

  15. It is indeed open season on them, this is what happens when half of their base realises that Scotland is actually a country and deserves a separate party from the london one.


    I'm not so sure Scotland will vote to remain in the EU, there are quite a few people, yes supporters as well, who don't agree with EU law overriding scots law, decisions that affect us, farming,fishing for instance, now I know, these farming/fishing issues may have been entirely different had the westminster government stuck up for Scotland, but they didn't.

    I'm also a bit pissed off with the EU after the indy ref, all the humming and hawing about our membership, ALL member states apart from what Denmark? Not willing to come out and reassure us we'd be in it for fear of upsetting the UK?

    I know you had a couple of 'read between the lines' statements but apart from politico's, people need it spelled it out to them, which can only come in the form of actual member states backing us.

    TTIP is also another issue for me. Have a read folks, the EU is changing and it ain't something I want to part of. I am ALL for freedom of movement and understand we need migrant workers, we don't need to be in the EU to have workers coming over though.

  16. Here's how the BBC define Devo Max

  17. @ Scottish_skier

    If I am reading the YouGov sub samples from this morning right then on the EU question :

    UK wide : IN 40%; OUT 39%
    Scotland : IN 61%; OUT 25%

    By calculation therefore
    rUK : IN 38%; OUT 40%.

    rUK would vote to come out but Scotland keeping them in.

    (Usual small sample warnings apply).

  18. @Ivan McKee

    I get the same numbers.