For a considered opinion on the day, you could do worse than to read the account of someone I talked to over coffee (yes, I sometimes partake of drinks that aren't chilled or iced ... very sometimes, though).
It was rather scary to be in the same room as some people who think the EU is quite hunky-dory, ta very much. I say 'some' because one of the speakers mentioned that everyone knows that the EU is flawed, and that he had yet to meet a pure, unadulterated Europhile who believed there weren't issues which needed to be ironed out. At which point, a hand shot up to illustrate the owner's acquiescence toward everything EU, a few minutes before the same guy threw a tantrum; shouted that no-one was being reverential enough to the new pan-European assimilation experiment; and fucked off with the right hump.
Turns out he is one of the country's big pro-EU movers, apparently. I suppose I should feel privileged that some of his irate spit landed in my lap two seats away. I'll not wash those trousers for a while and consult Christies about resale value. You never know, eh?
Oddly, he only had time for David Rennie of the Economist. Rennie had spoken of the piss poor nature of journalism these days, whereby hacks would attack the EU simply because "it doesn't sue, and won't complain". As an example, he quoted a Tory HQ fake story which the press took up concerning EU fines for not flying the flag over EU-funded projects.
It was bullshit. It quite simply didn't happen. Journos just re-printed it for its ease of use, and for the aforementioned fact that opposition would be non-existent. It even reached the BBC.
I think you may have noticed by now where I'm going with this, because it's a syndrome we are well aware of here.
We can count such appalling abuses of media reporting in many, many, many, many, many (I could go on) different ways when it comes to anti-smoker lies.
The same mindset applies. There is no opposition whatsoever. In fact - and this is rather pertinent seeing as we are talking about the EU - the silly bird from Cyprus is, err, democratically (?) actively attempting to silence any objection from a legal industry (to which she approves subsidies, by the way - they being Cypriot tobacco farmers) whilst accepting quite absurd anti-smoking science as fact.
Now, if a journo can see that he can print any old anti-smoking bollocks without challenge, he will do so. Yet, the same people who dislike such a practice applied to their cherished EU are quite happy to believe the same baseless nonsense from other areas.
Take Jon Worth, for example. He spoke yesterday about how he only blogs on issues on which he has a sound knowledge. Total respect for that, Jon, it's the sensible thing to do.
Except that, in the smoking debate, he has all of a sudden become an expert because ... yes, you guessed it ... he has read stuff in newspapers.
Now don't get me wrong. Jon is an OK sort. A committed lefty, sure, but someone who would appear to value probity of MSM reportage. Except in the smoking debate, of course, in which case who gives a fuck.
It's a point of view I have encountered over and over again with 'proper' politics commentators. They all talk of the need for responsible media coverage instead of tabloid hackery or lazy regurgitating of vested interest press releases, yet none will ever accept that the same practice goes on in areas they are unqualified to comment on in depth.
In such cases, they just believe the media - who are spewing out the same kind of press released garbage - unquestioningly.
Listen guys. Talk all you like of your distaste for lazy journalism and the propensity for some to take advantage of it. But don't ever think you're somehow too clever to fall for the same tactics.
It's a strategem which was perfected years ago (in 1975 to be precise). You might think that you are too clever to fall for it, but you're just as gullible as the rest of the population if the right buttons in your prejudices are pressed.
The Express may well turn pliant readers to their cause with anti-EU scare myths with which you violently disagree, but until such time as you can notice your own embedded preconceptions being encouraged by cleverly-contructed mendacity, you have no basis for being smug. In fact, your marshmallow acceptance of bullshit in other policy only encourages the same methods being employed against your own pet concerns.
Oh, I nearly forgot, the prawn salad sandwiches were bloody lovely.