The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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The Brussels propaganda machine

The Bruges Group's publication, Federalist Thought Control: The Brussels Propaganda Machine, exposes that the European Union is spending at least €250m on subsidising pro-EU groups and campaigns with the intention of manipulating public opinion to support the integrationist vision of Europe. The consequence of this will be to subvert fair and democratic debate as to whether or not Britain adopts the Euro.

The three authors, Martin Ball, Robert Oulds and Dr Lee Rotherham, point out that the EU and its propaganda machinery that involves numerous British organisations are playing a far longer game than just one referendum. The purpose of a carefully structured, all-encompassing propaganda is to create loyalty to a new entity, the European Union. To this end a great deal of money is channelled through various organisations and undertakings. A few of the British pro-EU/euro groups that receive funds from Brussels are the; Federal Trust, the trade union the AEEU, the European Movement and, via EM, Britain in Europe.

Federalist Thought Control tackles the task of tracking the money from the convoluted and unchecked EU Budget lines to its usage promoting the 'European ideal'.

The pamphlet shows how seemingly innocuous and even entirely praiseworthy undertakings, such as student exchanges or the creation of a youth orchestra, are hijacked by the Brussels propaganda machine for its own political agenda. All activity, in the eyes of those building the "new Europe" has to tend towards that aim. Whether it be the teaching of history to schoolchildren or the organisation of women's groups, they should all serve the purpose of further European integration. Federalist Thought Control details the deliberate self promotional strategies and how they are implemented.

Sinisterly, the EU targets school children. Europe's youth are in the eyes of Brussels a legitimate target for indoctrination and are given special treatment. This is because school children are said to be a "very receptive" section of the population and can "perform a messenger function in conveying the message to the home environment, among family and friends. It is the active population of tomorrow's Europe".

Despite an Act of Parliament forbidding political indoctrination and setting out a "duty to secure balanced treatment of political issues" it is clear that these important principles and laws are being blatantly breached. Teachers that rely solely on EU materials to discuss the topic of Europe are failing to present the issues in a balanced and impartial manner and so breach the Education Act 1996 and are thus breaking the law.

The authors also show how the pro-EU and the pro-euro lobby is actively preparing for a UK referendum and how the British Government breaks its own guidelines by promoting pro-euro propaganda. Furthermore, the pamphlet shows how unlikely is the prospect of a fair fight.

The sums involved are staggering. Research by French MEP, Hervé Fabre-Aubrespy, conservatively put it at around €250 million per annum. Whatever the final amount is, it dwarfs the money available to groups countering the EU information machine.

The authors go further: they propose ways of dealing with the propaganda as it exists now and is likely to develop. They propose a number of guidelines for the European Union and for the British Government to lay down and to follow in order to dispense with blatant propaganda and to return to the notion of a fair debate on this most important of all political subjects.

The funds that go into various organisations in order to promote the idea of a united Europe and the benefits of the euro should be carefully monitored and reined in where necessary. The money that has already been given to Britain in Europe, the European Movement and the Federal Trust should be returned. Public bodies should not be allowed to present only one side of the picture. The Government should stop presenting pro-euro propaganda as mere information about it and about its consequences.

Above all, say the authors, the question of the European Union and the United Kingdom's present and future relationship with it should no longer be discussed in public as if it were an uncontroversial given. It is a vitally important and highly controversial issue that affects and will affect the lives of everybody in this country. It should be discussed openly and argued over fairly.

Finally, Federalist Thought Control shows that the public is not entirely helpless. There have already been cases when public outcry forced the withdrawal of the more blatant forms of propaganda. Further monitoring may also be successful.

The Bruges Group intends to set up an information centre which will collect as many examples of misuse of political funds and platforms for pure propaganda rather than political debate and will use that information in the continuing political battle about the future of this country in Europe.

The authors propose a series of measures to help ensure that there will be a fair debate in any future euro referendum and bring about a cessation of pro-integrationist propaganda. These include:

    1. The adoption of tight rules as to what constitutes legitimate advertising and information campaigns by the European Commission – which guarantee impartiality and objectivity.
    2. The establishment of an independent watchdog in the UK to monitor and regulate EU propagandist spending and communications.
    3. The immediate termination of the illegal propaganda being distributed in Britain’s class rooms. We call on Estelle Morris to write to schools and Local Education Authorities reminding them of their duty that teaching on European issues be balanced as set out in Sections 406 and 407 of the Education Act 1996.