Tabloids rip into EU supporters

LONDON • Britons could lose control of their coastline. Their country could be scrapped or merged with France. And a nation in which tea-making is a daily ritual faces the prospect of a ban on its kettles.

Over recent years, The Daily Express has made little secret of its antipathy to the European Union. But with a June 23 referendum looming on whether Britain should stay in the 28-nation bloc, the Express has moved up another gear, urging readers to display a window sticker in favour of quitting or - in the paper's words - to "STICK IT TO THE EU!"

Britain's freewheeling tabloid press has never been shy about pushing an agenda. But Brexit has given some papers a particular opportunity to unleash their nationalist and anti-European tendencies, posing an additional headache for Prime Minister David Cameron, who is engaged in a ferocious struggle to persuade Britons to vote to remain in the bloc.

Those on the receiving end of Eurosceptic coverage include US President Barack Obama, who, during a recent visit here, supported British membership of the bloc and said there would be no quick free trade deal with the US if Britain quit.

The Daily Express' response was a banner headline on "Obama's Amazing Threat to Britain" and an article that reported "Outrage at his scaremongering over EU exit vote".

Nor is Queen Elizabeth II above the fray, at least for The Sun, Britain's biggest-selling paid-for daily tabloid. It reported that the monarch supports Brexit, based on accounts of comments she ostensibly made about Europe before the referendum was called.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2016, with the headline 'Tabloids rip into EU supporters'. Subscribe