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The shortcomings of a Eurosceptic editorial policy

On 13th June 2012 the Daily Express made a gamble that the EU would be more unpopular with its readership than the United Kingdom’s banking sector, when the newspaper published an article by Macer Hall on its website entitled: “NOW EU WANTS TO GRAB CONTROL OF BRITISH BANKS”. This article can be seen at . The article was critical of proposed new powers that would allow the EU to regulate the banks, as well as being critical of what it described as “a swingeing new financial tax”. This article was not just a vitriolic criticism of the EU, but also a criticism of creating any kind of mechanism that would effectively regulate Britain’s financial sector.

When the article was published on 13th June the editorial staff at the Daily Express could not have predicted the extent of the IT systems failure at RBS and its subsidiary banks NatWest and Ulster Bank, or the revelations of the Libor fixing fraud at Barclays Bank and other leading banks. However the newspaper would have been aware of the PPI mis-selling scandal – which is likely to have affected many of its readers – as well as the financial crisis which became first apparent in 2007 around the time the Northern Rock bank got itself into trouble. The Daily Express was therefore arrogant to assume that its readership would not want to see effective regulation of the UK’s banking sector, even if that regulation was to come from Europe.

The article did not explain to its readers why it is necessary for the EU to regulate banks within EU Member States – the reason for more stringent regulation is because there has been a massive failure of the global financial system, as a result of corruption, greed, and incompetence by some of the individuals who run the financial institutions. Although the UK is not in the Eurozone, it is still suffering from the same problems as other EU Member States in that tax payers money has been used to bail out failed banks, which has exacerbated the sovereign debt crisis, leading to a wider economic crisis. To break this cycle the EU must have more control over the banks, which should include sanctions such as the power to prosecute banking officials involved in fraud.

The Daily Express’s article quoted the Eurosceptic Tory MP, Peter Bone as saying: “The political elite of Europe are completely barking and out of touch with ordinary citizens. The sooner the euro collapses and the European Union breaks up the better.”

From this remark Mr Bone shows himself to be both barking and out of touch with ordinary citizens, because if the euro collapsed and the European Union broke up, the EU’s internal market would also break up, creating even more mass unemployment which in turn would stoke up old nationalist hatreds. This in itself would kill Britain’s export market to Europe and create even more unemployment at home. The break up of the EU could also lead to another world war emanating from Europe.

The Daily Express’s article did not give its readers any specific details of what it described as the “swingeing new financial tax”, perhaps because if its readers were better informed they might actually support the tax. This tax is probably the financial transaction tax (FTT) which has also been called the Robin Hood Tax. The European Commission proposed this tax on 28th September 2011. In a press release of that day ref: IP/11/1085, the European Commission gave its reason for the tax as follows:

First, to ensure that the financial sector makes a fair contribution at a time of fiscal consolidation in the Member States. The financial sector played a role in the origins of the economic crisis. Governments and European citizens at large have borne the cost of massive taxpayer-funded bailouts to support the financial sector. Furthermore, the sector is currently under-taxed by comparison to other sectors. The proposal would generate significant additional tax revenue from the financial sector to contribute to public finances.

Second, a coordinated framework at EU level would help to strengthen the EU single market. Today, 10 Member States have a form of a financial transaction tax in place. The proposal would introduce new minimum tax rates and harmonise different existing taxes on financial transactions in the EU.. This will help to reduce competitive distortions in the single market, discourage risky trading activities and complement regulatory measures aimed at avoiding future crises. The financial transaction tax at EU level would strengthen the EU’s position to promote common rules for the introduction of such a tax at global level, notably through the G20.

The FTT which is not applicable to pension funds has rates of 0.1% for shares and bonds, and 0.01% for derivatives. The tax was approved by the European Parliament on 23rd May 2012.

The Daily Express might want its readers to believe that the EU is costly for British citizens, but if people do a little research for themselves they might find that the institutions of the EU are actually on the citizens’ side. For many people the pain of being ripped off by the banks, would have focused their minds on the shortcomings of the Daily Express’s Eurosceptic editorial policy.

©Jolyon Gumbrell 2012

12 Responses to The shortcomings of a Eurosceptic editorial policy

  1. avatar Anthony says:

    You have a touching faith that the Express cares in the slightest whether its propaganda is accurate or logical. It streams the consciousness of crazed xenophobe Richard Desmond direct to the British public, in an attempt to make them more like him. The sooner it collapses and breaks up, the better…

  2. avatar Anthony says:

    It’s been five minutes and I’m still chuckling at the idea that the Express might do research before it writes an article.

  3. avatar Sue says:

    Yes…. because the Eurozone has done such a good job with it’s own banking system hasn’t it? You know very well that the reason the British government wanted control was because they intended to impose stricter regulations on the banks than the EU does.

    The EU makes a pig’s ear of everything it touches, fishing regulations, CAP and worst of all it’s monopoly money, which has left millions of Europeans without homes, jobs and hope.

    Perhaps if the Eurozone were not quite so obvious in their intention of taking over each and every country in the EU and adding it to their dictatorship, it wouldn’t receive such a negative reaction. The EU would like nothing better than to get it’s hands on London’s financial sector, it means millions of pounds in extra revenue for the EU if they can pull it off.

    The EU should sort out it’s own Ponzi scheme before interfering in other countries business. It’s not Britain that’s is bringing the rest of the world to it’s knees, it’s the Eurozone and it’s dodgy currency.

  4. avatar Sue says:

    “The Daily Express might want its readers to believe that the EU is costly for British citizens, but if people do a little research for themselves they might find that the institutions of the EU are actually on the citizens’ side”.

    Nothing can justify the complete lack of democracy. The nannying, the rules and regulations. The EU is costing the UK millions a day, while our hospitals close. Whatever it is costing, it’s not worth it. We no longer want to be fettered to these losers who are totally incapable of even auditing their own accounts.


    No, the EU is only interested in power, if it cared about it’s citizens, Europeans in Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland wouldn’t be suffering while the Eurocrats wine and dine in luxury ferried around the world in private jets.

  5. Sue, do you honestly believe the British government wanted to impose stricter regulations on the banks than the EU? The whole ideological approach from British governments over the past 33 years has been light touch regulation, which has facilitated the kind of fraud we have seen connected to the mis-selling of dodgy financial products to banks customers, as well as the fixing of the libor rate. It is not just the EU that want to impose the FTT or Robin Hood Tax on the City of London, the tax is also supported by charities such as Oxfam, but the British government has resisted it. UKIP and Eurosceptic Tories do not want the speculators in the trading rooms of London taxed, even when the greed and excess of these traders has brought the global economy to its knees. The Eurosceptics believe that people such as Bob Diamond should be allowed the freedom to get even bigger bonuses at the expense of the rest of the population.

  6. avatar Sue says:

    Where you get that idea is beyond me. George Osborne wanted to impose tougher requirements on banks, on a case by case basis, without having to ask permission from EU regulators first. He was supported by Sweden and Spain in this matter.

    Truth is, the EU wants control of everything and throws a wobbly when it doesn’t go it’s way. France is whinging because if the UK imposes stricter controls, the markets will see it as less of a risk which in Barnier’s eyes would make France less competitive.

    As I said previously, the EU has broken every rule in the book from allowing countries to fiddle their accounts prior to accession, to propping up banks which should have failed. The UK government are equally to blame (as is Wall Street). Remind me again how much OLAF has estimated has been embezzled from taxpayers money?

    Socialism and corporatism go hand in hand and that’s what is happening worldwide. The Robin Hood tax would be passed to taxpayers like me. Do you really think the banks or traders will pay the tax themselves? Of course not. The EU was obviously rubbing it’s hands together with this one as Britain stood to contribute a massive 80% of the cash yield in the EU as a whole.

    Charities should never be funded by taxpayers money, it’s tantamount to theft. Charities used to rely on voluntary donations and that has all gone horribly wrong. They are now as corrupt as the rest of the institutions. They should not be called charities but renamed as quangoes.

    Finally, I believe that half the bankers and traders ought to be prison but then again so do half our politicians. Interference from the EU is not making things easier for people like me who want the whole political system changed. As far as I’m concerned, the whole bally lot of them are corrupt but the EU has top spot.

  7. If the Robin Hood tax is implemented correctly it would not be passed on to other tax payers, because if the banks and traders did so they would be committing both fraud and tax evasion. If fraud and tax evasion is committed then the authorities have it in their power to prosecute the offenders. The cash raised by the tax could be used to police the financial system more effectively.

  8. avatar Sue says:

    Unless it’s implemented globally it will ruin our financial sector which pays a vast amount of tax. The markets would simply move to where they don’t have to pay it. It’s a lose, lose scenario. Sweden tried and failed to to do it. They lost so much money, they gave up.

    I am the first one to denounce bankers and their unethical practices but let’s be honest here, corporations, politicians, bankers and Autocrat, they’re all at it. They get away with fraud, corruption and theft while we get hounded for a TV licence. The whole system sucks and the bigger government is, the more inefficient and expensive it becomes. The EU is that ultimate parasitical monster of all governments, it is neither needed nor wanted. There is no reason whatsoever why 27 countries can’t get together round a table to discuss policy. The EU is a power trip for jokers like Barroso and Van Rompuy. Unelected, overpaid and unwanted.

  9. avatar Doreen says:

    your paranoia about the EU is really not helping your argument. The EU’s entire apparatus is smaller than that of a mid-sized British town, its main institutions are elected either directly (EP) or indirectly (Council), and the Commission, which does about the same job as the British Civil Service, is just as legitimate as the BCS. Generalized ranting like yours is just ridiculous and makes people not take you seriously, so please spare us.


  10. Thanks for your support Doreen. Sue, once the Robin Hood Tax is implemented at an EU level, then it would probably be implemented at a Global level through the IMF. I also think the best thing that could happen for London, would be for some of those unscrupulous traders to run away to a tropical island, while we could rebuild our economy and start investing in productive industry and technology again.

  11. avatar Sue says:

    Paranoia has absolutely nothing to do with it. I simply don’t see why 27 countries can’t sit round a table and discuss policy. Why do we need some pompous unelected nincompoops in charge? Do they think we are children? The biggest joke of all is that it goes round preaching democracy, when it’s a dictatorship, even the Americans saw the funny side to that one!

    We have absolutely no need for an army of civil servants when each country could pick one of their “serving” politico’s to do the job.

    This is from 2007 so goodness only knows how many have been added since then.

    “However, if you can find them, the official figures from the EU’s “establishment plans” for 2007 (on page 6 of the DG Admin ‘statistical bulletin’) show that there are 42,548 temporary and permanent EU officials. In addition, it lists 8,123 “external” Commission staff, which are staff paid on appropriations – contract agents, seconded national experts, technical and administrative assistance etc, giving a total of over 50,000″

    This was before Baroness Ashton’s massive army of over 3,000 and she is now the second most highly paid woman in the world. How many more departments and quangoes have been added in the last 5 years?

    You reckon we’re not being ripped off?

    It’s you who are delusional. Why, when each country already had a diplomatic corps we needed another with that useless woman in charge is beyond me.

    We’ve been lied to, had the truth hidden for years and denied our rights as free citizens of the UK and I’m furious. I did not ask to join the EU and I wasn’t consulted. I was too young in 1975 when those who voted yes to the COMMON MARKET were asked.

    Even then, the truth was with-held on the future plans for a political union. Guess why? BECAUSE THEY WOULD HAVE VOTED NO.

    I resent being told how to live my life by anybody, and certainly not by some jumped up bureaucrat in a silk designer suit who was appointed to make the law.

    There will be thousands of Britons partying when this project finally dies the death it deserves.

    Nope, they can all FOXTROT OSCAR!

  12. avatar Sue says:


    Not going to happen, the British government need the revenue, why do you think they’re so dead against it?

    I am simply not a socialist. I don’t believe in “progressive” politics. I don’t believe that richer countries should give to the poorer ones at the expense of their taxpayers.

    That is what “federalism” is, that is what the EU is. It has more in common with communism than it does democracy.

    I am a libertarian at heart and the EU is completely the opposite in it’s nature. I don’t believe in a benefit system or free health care or education and I don’t believe in “spreading the wealth” unless I’m asked in the first place.

    Socialism is great, until you run out of other people’s money – and that is exactly what has happened to the EU.

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