Democrat April-May 2005 (Number 87)
Balance, bias and double standardsSome points by Arthur Smelt
On Saturday 19 March, a report : 'School visit rebalances the 'biased' British view of German life', appeared in the Guardian newspaper concerning pupils from Harrogate grammar school who were on a six-day visit to Germany. The visit had been arranged by the Imperial War Museum to teach teenagers more about that country. This was in response to German criticism that British history teaching focuses excessively on the Nazi period.
Cultivation of fear
Joschka Fischer the German foreign minister has complained that the British media continually presents an out of date 'goose stepping image' of Germany. Without doubt the need to present a true, overall and balanced historical perspective is paramount if we are to learn from the past in ways which society will hopefully benefit from previous human failings. One aspect of the Nazi period seldom if ever mentioned is the persecution and murder of trades unionists and anyone who did not fit in with holders of power.
The present cultivation of fear from terrorist attacks, in an attempt to justify arrest and imprisonment of people merely on suspicion, begins to look like the sinister behaviour we are supposed to abhor.
Ethnic hatred, abuse of power, torture and barbarism are still with us. The pupils it seems were greatly impressed with Germany and observations were made about cleanliness and the efficiency of the public transport system. One pupil remarked that there were "EU flags everywhere, you don't see that at home". An observation the likes of Joschka Fischer would no doubt be delighted with.
The expenses paid trip was the follow up to a prize in a competition marking the 60th anniversary of the end of WW2, paid for with lottery money. It is highly unlikely that any lottery money would be made available to enable justified criticisms of the EU to be presented, for a balanced view to be more widely known.
On the same page as the school visit story was a report headed 'French voters threaten to shun EU treaty' about French hostility to the EU constitution. An opinion poll has shown a majority in opposition to the constitution in spite of massive amounts of money being spent on propaganda. The daily paper Le Parisien published the findings of a survey where 51% of the electorate are planning to vote 'No' on 29 May. There are indications that those prepared to vote against, abstain or spoil their papers is growing.
The response of President Chirac was to trot out the widely used and threadbare arguments about isolation if the EU Constitution were rejected. The politics of fear are constantly being used throughout the EU and elsewhere to further certain political ambitions. Chirac is quoted as saying that a 'No' vote would mean: "we would probably be totally isolated and all that that would mean as a consequence on France's ability to defend its interests".
The European Commission has set aside £1 million to promote the Constitution in France. This is another example of many, where massive funding is made available to brainwash us all, by giving biased and one-sided arguments in favour of EU whilst democracy is brushed aside. In The Times newspaper of February 18th there was a list of organisations in Britain in receipt of grants from the European Commission to promote EU and the Constitution. This is going on in the face of government denials.
Double standards in politics and especially EU politics are blatantly evident and to talk of history being taught in a biased manner, especially by those who specialise in that very process is to insult public intellect. The first part of this write up indicates how concerned people like Joschka Fischer are that pupils in Britain should receive unbiased education with regard to German history, but it is perfectly in order to give the most one-sided and often mendacious view of EU. The deception extends into indoctrination of school children about the wonderful advantages of EU, and if the likes of Joschka Fischer have their way the avoidance of bias and the presentation of balanced arguments is most certainly not in their scheme of things.