The graphic above appears on the Sun’s website today as part of their “Oi, Gordon – give us a referendum on the EU reform treaty or else” campaign.
That it’s full of distortions is unsurprising, but some of these key points appear to be outright lies.
I mean, I’ve read the old constitution, upon which the new treaty is heavily based, and am fairly well up on the contents of the new reform treaty. By my reckoning:
LIES: At no point is the EU given powers to oversee the UK economy. At no point is an EU army (Churchill’s idea, that…) founded. There is no mention of the EU gaining control of health and education. Britain has maintained its opt-out over human rights clauses, as well as over immigration and asylum. Oh, and – even if it may be very similar to the old constitution – it’s no longer a constitution.
DISTORTIONS: Under the terms of the new text, there will be no EU Foreign Minister (merely a powerless foreign affairs spokesman). Even the lost vetoes and diplomatic service thing are, in context, overblown and not as drastic as they are made out.
In other words, out of the ten attention-grabbing items listed in that graphic (the only part of the story most Sun readers are likely to bother reading), no fewer than nine are more or less nonsense.
Ah… Informed debate, eh? Dontcha just love it?
Oh, and please also note that in their report on their MORI poll on the EU treaty and proposed referendum, their figures are different between the pie charts and the text.
In the pie charts, 32% are for, 38% against – a significant six point difference. In the text, 44% are for, 46% against – within the margin of error.
And, as blogging poll expert Anthony Wells notes, those figures could also – rather than suggest, as the Sun does, that a referendum is both essential and going to provide an inevitable win for the “No” camp – show that the “Yes” camp has a far stronger chance of winning than anyone ever expected.