The media's obsession with failed EU projects
All that the Remain-biased media's latest obsessions with failed Brussels policies on COVID-19 have shown is that we must escape the sclerotic and declining EU as fast as we possibly can
Over the course of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the United Kingdom’s mainstream media have seen their popularity with the public plummet.
A recent YouGov poll found 64% of people say they do not trust TV journalists and 72% say they do not trust newspaper journalists. A large part of this seems to be rooted in much of the media’s obsession with trying to expose any wrongdoing by the government, and often taking a negative approach.
One key area where this mentality is demonstrated so well is the endless questioning of government ministers relating to the UK’s participation in European Union schemes for ‘Personal Protective Equipment’ (PPE) and ventilators.
While the government did not cover themselves in glory when this story first emerged, saying the UK did not take part because of ‘an administrative mistake’, the media were all too happy to blow the whole problem completely out of proportion.
The scare stories and campaigns for ministers to resign went even further after a Senior Civil Servant, in the Foreign Office – Sir Simon McDonald - claimed the decision not to participate in this scheme was a political decision. This is a claim he had to rescind later that same day, after he was proven to be incorrect. Of course, this hasn’t stopped the media continually repeating the accusation and behaving as if these EU schemes could have been the UK’s saviour.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Much like the rest of the EU’s response to COVID-19, these ventilator and PPE schemes have failed to support participants in any meaningful way. In fact, by the time the UK reached Easter weekend – the supposed peak of the virus – both schemes failed to produce any new equipment for those who had requested them, including in the most-severely hit country, Italy.
Meanwhile, the Government has promoted the development and creation of additional ventilators by companies willing to diversify here in the UK, which has meant - according to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock MP – all patients in UK hospitals who have needed a ventilator have been able to use one.
This is in stark contrast to patients in Italy and Spain who have suffered from a severe shortage, with the EU saying ventilators ordered through the EU scheme may not arrive for another year. This delay has been caused by huge swathes of EU regulations over healthcare procurement methods which have also taken their toll on the UK. Countless UK businesses have not been allowed to provide additional equipment to the NHS, simply because they are not on pre-approved lists held by central offices. This means, while we have not been overwhelmed, we do not have reserves.
EU PPE schemes have also failed. Last week, Germany – the supposed example we should all be following in the response to COVID-19 - had a mass shortage of equipment. Doctors had even started campaigns against the German Government. The EU’s worst effected country, Italy, has received more help from China than its close neighbours - a fact which is mirrored here in the UK as well – although not all of this has proved to be reliable.
Despite all this, time and time again you will hear questions asked by some in the Remain-biased media about why we are not participating in EU schemes, even though they have now been proved to be ineffective. This has been a clear attempt to try and make Brexiteers - and this government - seem petty for having faith and showing belief in the capability of those within this country to meet our needs. All this is happening against a backdrop of opposition parties feigning compromise and support, while supporting the media in taking a negative approach, instead of actually recognising the successes of the UK during this stressful time.
In the race to purchase essential equipment along with the rest of the world during this pandemic, unfortunately some products purchased from China have turned out to be faulty or badly labelled. One major lesson to be learned from all this is we must expand our own manufacturing industry as we march towards our global future and ‘Take Back Control’.
We must always remember, we have been failed by our close neighbours – the EU - but despite clear evidence of this failure during the pandemic, much of the Remain-biased press will still hold up EU schemes as shining examples of what we will miss out on when we Leave the EU - and why we must remain as close as possible to Brussels in the future.
These were stories touted before the Referendum in 2016 and in spite of it being almost 4 years since we voted to Get Britain Out of the EU, nothing on the ‘Remain’ side seems to have changed.
Instead of being badgered for not wasting money on failed EU schemes, the government should be congratulated for showing faith in the businesses of this country to help resolve many of the problems caused by COVID-19.
Our collective spirit and adaptability has shown why, now more than ever, we must escape the sclerotic and failing EU to forge a path forward towards a new and ‘Global Britain’ free from the handcuffs tying us to Brussels.
Jayne Adye is the Director of leading cross-party grassroots Eurosceptic campaign Get Britain Out
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