Posted by dnotice
October 31st, 2011
While media watching, one thing you notice is a repeated confusion between the European Union (EU) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) (run by the Council of Europe, CoE).
This may be completely inadvertent, but the Sun, Daily Mail and Express do make this mistake on a regular basis, amongst other “errors”.
I thought I would help them out.
Wikipedia has the following diagram showing how the jurisdiction of various European bodies overlaps*, as well as a few extra bits**:
As you can see there is a clear overlap between the EU and CoE/ECtHR – in fact to join the EU you must be a member of the CoE/ECtHR – but it is clear that there is a significant difference between the two, even when simply looking at the members of each.
The main difference is that one is more trade-related; one more co-operation related.
The EU was set up in 1958 by various western European countries, but not the UK (which created the European Free Trade Association in response), to help them trade with each other. In fact, the basic idea of the EU is to create an economic bloc between various countries via a single internal market.
The CoE was set up in 1949 – by the UK among others – is more of an inter-governmental co-operation organisation, kind of like a Europe-only UN, with a specific focus on civil rights by the European Convention on Human Rights, which the UK drafted, and a less obvious focus on pharmacology standards.
So while it can be seen that there are similarities between the two, there are obvious differences.
Hopefully, the tabloids will read this and take note, especially as the EU has already attempted to point this out, albeit without success.
* There are a few bodies which aren’t shown on the diagram, including the Central European Free Trade Agreement (which will probably be swallowed up by the EU in the future given the EU’s Candidates and Potential Candidates), and the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia which is rarely mentioned in the UK.
** The other items are the European Free Trade Association; the European Economic Area; the EU Customs Zone; and the Schengen Area; as well as showing non-EU countries countries which have agreements to mint €s, but not those which decided to use it, without reaching a formal agreement, due to historic reasons.
Categories: EU |
Posted by Dave Cross
November 14th, 2010
This article is reposted from Davblog.
You might have heard of a campaign to move the UK onto the same timezone as Central Europe. There are a number of groups campaigning for this (see, for example, Lighter Later) and the proposals are going to be discussed in parliament on December 3rd.
Now, I don’t have any particularly strong feelings either way on this, but the arguments about saving a lot of energy by changing the time seem pretty persuasive to me. Of course not everyone is an ambivalent as I am and today the Mail on Sunday publishes an article by Peter Hitchens called “Don’t let them force you to live your life on Berlin Time”. The title makes it quite clear the direction that the article is going to take, but it’s astonishing just how ridiculous the article is. The blatant xenophobia is amazing.
But it is easy to see that since 1893, when Kaiser Wilhelm II’s arrogant and expansionist new ¬German Empire adopted Mitteleuropaische Zeit (Central European Time to you), German power has been forcing its ideas of time on the rest of the Continent. First in 1914, and with redoubled force after 1940, the conquered nations of the Continent were instructed rather sharply to shift their clocks forward to suit the needs of German soldiers and German railways and German business.
A map of the present Central European Time Zone looks disturbingly like a map of a certain best-forgotten empire of 70 years ago. Would it really be silly to suspect that the neatness and standardisation fanatics of Brussels and Frankfurt, who have abolished almost every border in Europe, devised the European arrest warrant and the Euro passport and the European number plate and the European flag – and imposed a single currency on almost every state – would not also like a single time zone?
In a particularly nice touch, there’s a black and white picture of someone adjusting a public clock with the caption “Forced change: The Nazis made occupied nations adopt German time”.
Now, there may be good reasons to object to this change but if there are, Hitchens seems to have missed them completely. Bringing the argument down to this disgusting “who won the war, anyway?” level is surely a tacit admission that Hitchens has no reasonable arguments against the proposals.
Hitchens does, at least, mention the benefits that supporters of the change expect to see, but he decides that “many of these claims are pretty much guesswork”. To back this up he points out that:
Shifting the clocks about changes less than you might think. The amount of actual daylight remains the same. It is just available at different times of day.
This is, of course, indisputable. But what Hitchens forgets to mention is that supporters of the changes know this. It’s the redistribution of the daylight hours which brings the benefits, not some (scientifically improbable) lengthening of the day. It’s a straw man of the most obvious kind.
The most offensive part of the article is the way that Hitchens seamlessly merges the EU with the Third Reich. He ends with this chilling warning:
If we are foolish enough to hurry down this path, it is by no means certain that we shall ever be allowed back if we decide we do not like it. Once we have fallen in, who would be surprised by a quiet Brussels Directive making the change permanent, whatever Parliament does? Now is the time to save our own time.
I’m all in favour of a debate about these changes. No-one would suggest making a change of this size without a full discussion taking place first. But surely those opposing the changes can find better arguments than this poisonous nonsense.
Categories: EU |
Tags: cet, columnists, EU, gmt, peter hitchens, time | 21 Comments
Posted by dnotice
October 16th, 2010
This is a cross-post on The Sun – Tabloid Lies, Express Watch and Mail Watch.
When you read the Sun, Daily Mail and the Express over a long-enough period of time, you start to notice a few things.
One thing that crops up regularly are hysterical ranting posts over a few small topics, including the following:
We’ve noticed that a lot of these scare stories could be stopped by a little research, which we accept that pressed-for-time tabloid journalists, for whatever reason, are unable to do.
Therefore, in the spirit of co-operation, we’ve decided to help them out by listing great sources of information, thereby saving them valuable time:
There are also a variety of websites which can be used for any “Bloody Foreigners! Coming over ‘ere! Takin’ our jobs! Takin’ our wimmin!” stories*:
There are also more general fact-checking sites**:
Of course, any and all of these lists could also be used by anyone else who wants to know more about the articles which the Sun, Daily Mail and/or the Express publish.
If anyone has any other suggestions as what other sources our tabloid journalists could use, just leave them in the comments.
* Thanks to Tabloid Watch for these particular links
** Thanks to Bloggerheads for these suggestions
Categories: EU, Healthcare, Immigration, Media, Political correctness |
Posted by sim-o
September 29th, 2010
The EU is only interfering again. This time it’s telling Cadburys’ to change it’s slogan…
EU forces Cadbury’s to axe its iconic glass-and-a-half slogan from chocolate bars
Oh, hang on. I think someone forgot to read the article before coming deciding on the headline because…
Experts at the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) said the EU rules should not apply in the Cadbury case.
TSI spokesman, Andy Foster, said: ‘The Cadbury slogan is well known by consumers and should not be confused or caught up with food labelling laws.’
He said the slogan was not part of the ingredients list, and so was not affected by rules regarding food labelling.
‘Therefore the Trading Standards Institute would have no objection to the continued use of the famous slogan unless it was considered misleading by consumers,’ he said.
That last quote is in the article itself.
Maybe a better headline would be “Mail blames EU for Cadbury getting it wrong”
h/t Mr Power
Categories: EU |
Tags: Cadbury, EU, misleading headline | 12 Comments