EU Referendum

Brexit: they catch up … eventually


From the school of, "it doesn't exist until it's been 'discovered' by the legacy media", we have on the front page of today's Financial Times the headline: "UK faces €20bn Brexit divorce bill in Brussels budget wrangle", with a pull-quote declaring: "We could actually end up paying more into the EU budget …".

Wonders will never cease. The Financial Times has discovered reste à liquider, telling us that, "with Britain's planned departure, it forces a financial reckoning that politicians had imagined would never be needed"- apart from the fact that I sent a note to the Treasury Committee (which they have so far ignored).

The story itself appeared on this blog in April, and was repeated in Monograph 3 in July. It was then aired by Booker in August, under the headline: "Leaving the EU could cost us even more than staying in" - whence it was also largely ignored.

There had been a brief flurry of interest in August when the German papers picked it up, but the issue didn't really catch. But now, when the mighty Financial Times "discovers" what we've known for many months, the coprophagic media rush in to copy the story.

We have the Telegraph (having taken no notice of the Booker story in August), running with: "Britain facing £18billion Brexit 'divorce bill'", and the Mail picking up a Press Association report, with the very similar headline: "The UK 'facing £18bn divorce bill for Brexit'".

The Statesman is in on the act, retailing the "hot news" we had six months ago, and doubtless others, such as the Guardian and the Independent dutifully following. All of this serves to underline the fact that, in the legacy media, news is not actually about news, but "prestige". Primarily, it's about who says what, not the content.

This is one of the reasons why the contemporary media so often fails. Locked in to prestige, it has shut itself off from the country and is no longer able to take the temperature of the nation. It has become the voice of its own "bubble".