1 Appalled as I am at the prospect of my country voting to leave the European Union next week, I'm hardly surprised
2 For 25 years our press has fed the public mendacious & relentlessly hostile stories about the EU and it was @BorisJohnson who set the tone
3 I was Brussels correspondent of The Times shortly after Johnson was there for The Telegraph, and had to live with the consequences
4 Johnson, fired by The Times in '88 for fabricating a quote, made his mark not by fair, balanced reporting, but by extreme euro-scepticism
5 He seized every chance to denigrate the EU, filing stories that were colourful but bore scant relationship to the truth
7 Johnson later confessed “Everything I wrote from Brussels…was having this amazing, explosive effect on the Tory party...
9 Johnson’s reports also had an explosive effect on Fleet Street. They were much more fun than the usual dry & rather complex Brussels fare
10 News editors on other papers, particularly but not exclusively the tabloids, started pressing their own correspondents to match them
11 By the time I arrived in Brussels editors only wanted stories about faceless Brussels Eurocrats imposing absurd rules on Britain
12 or scheming Europeans ganging up on us, or British prime ministers fighting plucky rearguard actions against a hostile continent.
13 Much of Fleet Street seemed unable to view the EU through any other prism. It was the only narrative it was interested in
14 Stories that did not bash Brussels/acknowledged the EU’s many achievements/recognised UK won important arguments ended up on the spike
15 @BorisJohnson is now campaigning against the cartoon caricature of the EU that he himself created
16 Johnson is campaigning against a fictional EU that bears no relation to reality. That is why he & fellow Brexiteers could win next week
17 @BorisJohnson may be witty and amusing, just as Donald Rumsfeld was in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, but he is extremely dangerous
18 What began as a bit of a jape could inflict terrible damage on this country. Fight back. #EUref