If you read certain British newspapers, you could get the impression that the European Union is hanging by a thread. Any day now, and it will collapse. The Euro will implode, and France will be dashed, again. Also, Germans are ready to boot out Angela Merkel for her role in bringing millions of refugees to Germany.
In one Daily Mail article, it is claimed – with ‘proof’ from the Kremlin’s propaganda arm RT in the form of a video of a small right-wing demonstration – that Germans are marching to see her out. In another, this time from the Daily Express, it is claimed that Germans are clamouring for Merkel to resign.
According to the British arm of the American far right news site Breitbart, Europeans are rejecting multiculturalism. My country Sweden is used as an example and a warning to all of how dangerous multiculturalism can be.
The only problem is that none of these things are true. Almost 70 per cent of Germans think that taking in nearly 2 million refugees last year had nothing to do with the violence in 2016. Support for CDU/CSU has barely budged. Angela Merkel is quite secure in her position.
Here in Sweden the far-right Sweden Democrats are losing support to mainstream parties (In Swedish). Even Sweden Democrat supporters now say, according to a new book, that the party is not “the best party for them”. As mainstream parties offer a more restrictive view on immigration, the Sweden Democrats have to use louder and fiercer rhetoric to be heard, rhetoric about imposing curfews in immigrant areas and about “silencing critical media in due time”.
Taking in 1% of our population per year has had its issues – not least strains on public services. And here, that strain is real because it’s as if Britain would have accepted 6.5 million refugees last year. There is a legitimate debate to be had. But what the mainstream parties are proposing is not an end to the right of refugees, but more about requiring them to work. There is no great effort to restrict the rights of refugees in either Sweden or Germany. So, why does the Mail and the Express and Breitbart say there is?
The obvious answer is: because they want there to be. During the EU referendum the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, and Breitbart were not above spreading lies and disinformation to support their cause. Even now with the economic consequences of the Brexit vote, the Daily Express has a rather hysterical tone about “talking Britain down”. It rejects the consequences of the vote.
Judging by the output over the years in all three outlets, immigration and immigrants have been at the top of the scare mongering. Sovereignty is coded anti-immigration. When Angela Merkel and Sweden did the decent thing for the people fleeing Syria and other war zones, these three outlets wanted that to fail. And they will look for any signs of failure, including from propagandist state broadcasters like Russia Today. And if it’s not entirely true, they’ll twist available facts in order to avoid telling a bald-faced lie.