Friday 15 April 2016

Katie Goes to Cornwall

Not 'EU and Yours'

Next was the first of a 'new series' on Newsnight - Episode One of Referendum Road, the programme's round-the-country series of reports gauging public opinion in different parts of the UK. 

The opening report came from Katie Razzall, who went to Cornwall and spoke to a lot of very charming people. 

She began with a fish-merchant who is for pro-Brexit. speaking to him and his customers (some of whom were pro-Brexit, some anti-Brexit). 

She then went to a local charity, which has received some funding from the EU's social fund. Everyone there was anti-Brexit. 

She then went to a local business which has received considerable EU funding. Its owner was anti-Brexit, though his employees had mixed feelings. 

Finally, she went to a Cornish language society meeting. She noted that the EU had officially recognised their language and described them as being mostly"Europhiles". 

So, a fish company that hasn't benefited from the EU was juxtaposed with (a) a charity that has, (b) a food company that has and (c) a Cornish language society that has. 

Katie Razzall

And Katie Razzall was considerably more detailed about the claimed benefits for Cornwall of EU membership than in spelling out the downsides. In fact, she didn't spell out any of the downsides (such as fishing statistics). 
There's real poverty in Cornwall. Because the county's GDP is well below the EU average EU money has poured in, funding infrastructure projects, airports, university departments, superfast broadband. Between 2000 and 2014 the EU invested almost £900 million in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Another £480 million or so is allocated up to 2020. But it doesn't always buy appreciation.
Remainers will take comfort from those sentiments. Despite Cornwall receiving more money from the EU for each of its half a million inhabitants than anywhere in England there's been a lot of talk that it's veering Eurosceptic ahead of the referendum. 
Carley's Organics is one of more than 25,000 Cornish businesses to have got EU help. This pan-European enterprise received £300,000 from the EU's Regional Development Fund to build a new factory and help boost the local economy. Even here in a place that's benefited from EU support, attitudes as well as ingredients are mixed.
And she evidently kept putting the pluses of EU membership to various people in her questions.

Her closing words were:
They sang us out. Celts first, and Europhiles in the main, many here fear a Brexit will have an adverse impact on the land they love. But some of their Cornish neighbours may not be in tune with that sentiment.
If this anti-Brexit-biased piece is going to be typical of Newsnight's Referendum Road then there is going to be a lot more pro-Remain bias from Newsnight over the coming weeks. 


  1. I know this area. I live there (here). Our MP is George Eustice, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) He’s for ‘out’ and he should know how that’s likely to affect farmers and fishermen.

    (I used to buy fish from “Tony”, but the door-to-door service was understandably pricey, so Morrison’s for me)

    It’s true that there is a lot of (quite visible) EU funding around here. However, I understand a lot of the money has been spent on developments and buildings, rather than running costs and ongoing expenses, so once it’s there it’s there. The people she featured in the film seemed either pro-Brexit or undecided so I didn’t understand why she summed up the way she did.
    The concept of the whistle-stop tour of the UK is flawed, anyhow. Who selects the participating individuals and companies and who selects the bits of film they air? She certainly didn't consult me ;-(

    It’s all nonsense.

  2. You'd think she might have started with reference to this result...but, then again, you can see why she wouldn't.

    I agree, Sue, that the concept of a whistlestop tour is flawed. It has more merit in a General Election. Here we have a national referendum on a single national issue. But you can see why the BBC, being pro-Remain, would prefer to regionalise the issue.

  3. Did Katie mention how much money Britain pours into the EU in exchange for such largesse?


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