Richard North, 08/10/2004  

One does not begrudge newspaper reporters their salaries – even if they tend to be somewhat overpaid these days – but the deal is that they report the news, as honestly and as accurately as their editors will allow.

But George Jones, the Telegraph’s political correspondent, is evidently exempt from this stricture. Reporting on the Conservative Party conference, with a story headlined "I'll give you a government you can trust", his grasp of the actualité (or lack of it) is such that he reports "Mr Howard hardened Tory policies on Europe…".

Why do these witless hacks insist on peddling these myths? A straightforward analysis of Howard’s speech readily demonstrates that, if anything, he has slightly back-peddled on his policy, having softened his line on repatriating foreign aid. Even David "la-la" Cameron, on Question Time last night conceded that the policy had not altered since before the Euro-elections.

Jones, is of course, not the only hack – or politico – peddling the myth of a "tougher policy on Europe" but the facts are that Howard has not made any concessions whatsoever to UKIP. Whether he should or not, is not the point of this particular Blog. The point is that if the George Joneses of this world can't even get simple facts right, what do they get their money for?

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