The UK government’s failure to rebut the euromyths is a cautionary tale
Bob Elphick, former Reuters and BBC foreign correspondent, my initial boss at the European Commission and first professional mentor, liked to say the Commission had ‘broad shoulders’.
By the end of my time there, much of my job was spent attempting to kick into touch scare stories of Brussels needlessly meddling in UK matters.
Rumours abounded of the EC (now EU) banning bendy bananas and curvy cucumbers, or outlawing cheddar cheese and forcing donkeys on beaches to wear nappies.
The problem: few were true.
Yet euromyths have persisted to this day, largely unchallenged, and have had a significant impact on public opinion in the UK.
Why have these scare stories been allowed to circulate so freely?
Here’s my take in the EUobserver, based on my time as an EU official much of whose time was spent fact-checking and rebutting tall stories in the UK media.
It is a cautionary tale for all organisations, and especially supra-, national- and international ones.