1. Exquisite Tweets from @mfletchertimes

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    1 Appalled as I am at the prospect of my country voting to leave the European Union next week, I'm hardly surprised

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    Martin Fletcher

    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

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    Martin Fletcher

    3 I was Brussels correspondent of The Times shortly after Johnson was there for The Telegraph, and had to live with the consequences

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    Martin Fletcher

    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

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    Martin Fletcher

    5 He seized every chance to denigrate the EU, filing stories that were colourful but bore scant relationship to the truth

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    Martin Fletcher

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    Martin Fletcher

    7 Johnson later confessed “Everything I wrote from Brussels…was having this amazing, explosive effect on the Tory party...

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    Martin Fletcher

    8 and it really gave me this I suppose rather weird sense of power.”

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    Martin Fletcher

    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

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    Martin Fletcher

    10 News editors on other papers, particularly but not exclusively the tabloids, started pressing their own correspondents to match them

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    Martin Fletcher

    11 By the time I arrived in Brussels editors only wanted stories about faceless Brussels Eurocrats imposing absurd rules on Britain

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    Martin Fletcher

    12 or scheming Europeans ganging up on us, or British prime ministers fighting plucky rearguard actions against a hostile continent.

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    Martin Fletcher

    13 Much of Fleet Street seemed unable to view the EU through any other prism. It was the only narrative it was interested in

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    Martin Fletcher

    14 Stories that did not bash Brussels/acknowledged the EU’s many achievements/recognised UK won important arguments ended up on the spike

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    Martin Fletcher

    15 @BorisJohnson is now campaigning against the cartoon caricature of the EU that he himself created

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    Martin Fletcher

    16 Johnson is campaigning against a fictional EU that bears no relation to reality. That is why he & fellow Brexiteers could win next week

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    Martin Fletcher

    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

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    Martin Fletcher

    18 What began as a bit of a jape could inflict terrible damage on this country. Fight back. #EUref

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    Martin Fletcher