Richard North, 11/01/2014  

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It is rather appropriate that Lord Dobbs, a writer of political fiction, should be the peer to lead the Referendum Bill through the House of Lords. He is able to continue his day job uninterrupted, pursuing another fiction through to its bitter end, the idea that there can be an "in-out" referendum in 2017.

Remarkably, although this was spelled out by Lord Kerr in yesterday's debate, and earlier in the Commons debate, Parliamentary sketch writers such as Quentin Letts choose to ignore the obvious, and continue to pretend that a 2017 referendum is a viable proposition.

The refusal of the legacy media thus to identify the flaw at the heart of Mr Cameron's renegotiation strategy suggests wilful delusion – typical behaviour when an issue does not fit in with the preferred narrative.

Thus, we have the Mail editorial bitching about "Labour's contempt for the people on Europe", yet neglecting to say that the Cameron scenario is every bit as contemptible, and reflects an equal level of contempt for ordinary people, in attempting to sell a fraudulent bill of goods.

With another piece which ticks all the "eurosceptic" boxes, complaining about Mandelson, the man who declares that EU membership is "absolutely fundamental" and must not be put "in the hands" of an unpredictable referendum.

This is the same man, incidentally, who in May 2012 called for Britain to commit to a future referendum "as the best way of re-establishing a national consensus about future relations with Europe".

But the Mail also reports on the BBC's "unbelievable bias" after Radio 4 broadcaster Evan Davis branded the referendum a "charade and suggested it would be "stupid" to give the public a say. What the paper doesn't say, though, is that, even if for the wrong reason, Davis is right about the charade.

The "narrative" continues in the Daily Telegraph, with the focus on the "arrogance and contempt" of the peers, who are being accused of declaring that the public cannot be trusted on a referendum. The paper does not bother with the idea that the 2017 referendum is a chimera.

That leaves the Express telling us that this "historic" EU referendum is a step closer, as the Bill "clears another hurdle". That it is merely closer to oblivion is not stated.

In the blogosphere, however, the message is taken, something which the legacy media simply cannot cope with. This is truly a collective delusion, one that will perhaps go down in history when the referendum fails to materialise.

But then, in their own cynical way the media are fulfilling a purpose, driving a false narrative because it suits the prevailing political mood. But if they can sell a false bill of good on this, they can do it on anything. Lies are their currency and we would be foolish to allow them to prevail.

Let Lord Dobbs purvey his fictions. We have the real world to attend to.


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