Monday, October 04, 2010

Preaching to the converted

I have just been emailed by to an event on December 10th at my new offices. And it shows just why the EU fails to get its message across, because it cannot help itself, it is incapable of being fair minded.
Dear Gawain, is an independent group of bloggers from across Europe, specialising in EU politics. We'd like to invite you to our EU/UK blogging event on 10 December 2010. This event, to be held at Europe House and supported by the European Commission, will bring together key figures from the EU and UK blogging scene to share information, experiences and ideas on writing about Europe for a UK audience.

Attending will be David Rennie, The Economist magazine's current Westminster columnist and formerly the author of the regular "Charlemagne" column on EU politics; Jon Worth, prominent EU blogger and one of the people behind 2008's Atheist Bus Campaign; the award-winning and long-running EU blogger J Clive Matthews (A.K.A Nosemonkey); Sunny Hundal from Liberal Conspiracy (the UK's most popular left-of-centre politics blog) and Mary Honeyball MEP. Also attending will be representatives of the Left Foot Forward, LibDem Voice and LabourList blogs.

The event will take place at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU from 1 to 6 o'clock pm on 10 December. There will be a combination of panels, discussion and networking sessions. A light lunch will be provided. There will be wifi provision and a charging station for laptops/mobile phones etc. Entry is free, but participants will need to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements.

If you would like more information about the event, please contact
Now lets take a look at this list,
Jon Worth - A fine fellow, fine blogger utterly pro European, pro Labour
J Clive Matthews -Another fine fellow and EU cheerleader (though questions the odd thing or two)
Sunny Hundal - Again a fine fellow, again hardly an opponent of UK membership of the EU - Pro Labour
Mary Honeyball - Pro EU Labour MEP

The other representatives are
Left Foot Forward - Errr Pro EU, pro Labour
LibDem Voice - Errr Pro EU, I guess pro Lib/Dem
and LabourList blogs - Guess what? Pro EU.

David Rennie is coming in from the Economist, he is a libertarian of sorts and is a critical friend of the EU.

I think that we can all see a theme here. The event isn't about bringing "together key figures from the EU and UK blogging scene to share information, experiences and ideas on writing about Europe for a UK audience" now is it?

Maybe more honest would be to get the European Commission to fund a conference so that pro EU bloggers can get together and think about ways of writing in favour of the EU.

Yes, yes they have invited me to be in the audience (and I shall go, after all all I have to do is take a lift), and I do not for a moment believe that I should be on the various panels, too lowgrade I fear, but you know there are others out there who might just be regarded as worth listening to. Tim perhaps or Helen or Richard, or Matts or somone... Anyone?

After all they have a bigger audience and reflect the opinion of the country


Nosemonkey said...

Ha ha ha!

I haven't been overly involved in the organising of this event, but can say categorically that one of the first things that was made clear from the outset was precisely that it SHOULDN'T be an entirely pro-EU event, and that the panels should be as balanced as possible.

The trouble is, you see, that certain anti-EU types (naming no names, but this post is a good illustration of the mindset) see that there's Commission involvement and instantly cry off in disgust, assuming that it's all going to be propaganda.

Because of this, the "propaganda" claim becomes somewhat self-fulfilling - not through lack of effort on the part of the organisers (all of whom are entirely independent of the Commission or any other EU body, as far as I'm aware - the Commission's just providing the venue), but because it's far easier for anti-EU types to snipe from the sidelines than to engage constructively.

Though, to be fair, there are a few anti-EU types who I think *are* going to be involved - Devil's Kitchen has, I think, been invited, and there are a few others. They just haven't responded yet.

Bearing in mind that all the eurosceptic bloggers you've mentioned have already been invited (at least, they were on my list of people to invite), have you got any other suggestions for anti-EU types to provide a bit of balance? I'm happy to pass them on.

Love and kisses,

Nosemonkey said...

P.S. If you want a slot on a panel, I'm sure that it can be arranged. I can have a word if you like? I've been hoping we could get some UKIP representation...

Anonymous said...

Of course there are going to be anti-EU panelists. They just don't know who they will be, nor if invites have been sent. Of course this isn't going to be about pretending that the European blogosphere is united in its love for the EU. And even if it was, how is that an exercise in propoganda, you filthy conspiracy theorist? You should take up the offer to be on their panel. They have a button for you for when you don't agree with them.

Nosemonkey said...

Ha ha ha! I love Anonymous!

It's true. I'm only taking part because the EU's kidnapped my family and is threatening them with a knife. And thanks to leaving this comment, my brother's now going to have his *other* thumb cut off.

(Psst! You chaps would sound a lot more convincing if you weren't so hysterical all the time.)


Eurogoblin said...


That sounds like a challenge! ;-) Of course we're aware the event is too lefty-liberal at the moment. You probably know a lot of the Bloggingportal editors (who are all volunteers, independent of the EU and often critical of it), and you know we're not afraid of Eurosceptic representation.

The reason the only participants listed so far are left-wing bloggers is because very few eurosceptics have confirmed their attendance yet. I'm pretty sure we can persuade Devil's Kitchen to come - and I'm glad you'll be there. But we need more! The top pro-EU blogs will all be represented - and we want a eurosceptic contingent.

To give you an idea of the sort of response we've had from some eurosceptics, here's Iain Dale's reply:

"Frankly I'd rather stick pins in my eyes."

Fair enough. But you can't then accuse us of preaching to the choir. ;-)

So, Gawain - we're going to enlist your help to get some more eurosceptics aboard. You can't challenge us for not having enough eurosceptics and then not help us get some. Do you personally know any bloggers (or politicians or journalists) who you could have a word with? People who might be interested and who we could invite?

This isn't supposed to be a back-slapping exercise for pro-EU types. It's supposed to be a real-life continuation of the debates we've been having on the blogs about the EU. Will be good to see you there.

Bloggingportal Editor

Gawain Towler said...

I knew it all along....

No pressure and all that.

JCM, I knew there was a reason for it. Anyhow in coms with Mnsgr Litbarski and happy to help

Carolus Hibernicus said...

Make sure you wear a bulletproof vest and undies and keep your legs crossed if you're wearing a kilt. These pro-EU female bloggers are attention-seeking whores and all they want is you body. Give them the iron message: just because I'm a pretty face doesn't mean I'm an easy lay...SO NO WAY

Carolus Hibernicus

Eurogoblin said...

Classy comment.

Gawain Towler said...

That message goes out loud and clear