27 May 2011

They counted them in, they counted fewer out.

Small selection of Daily Express front-page headlines
The Daily Express has long campaigned to convince the nation that the whole fabric of Society is in danger from an influx of immigrants bent on securing jobs, housing and benefits from under the noses of indigenous 'Brits'.

Articles which accompany these startling headlines are often long on scare - mongering hyperbole and short on accuracy.

All three of the main political parties agree that there is indeed a problem which needs to be rectified. The Daily Express, however, is embarked on another course completely. Its tactics are designed to engender hatred, mistrust and resentment. 

An article in today's Daily Express, here, the statistics, taken from the latest ONS study, (ONS podcast), appear at first glance to be accurate if somewhat alarming! Using language which backs up the article writer's understandable alarm, the spokesman from Migration Watch, the oft quoted Sir Andrew Green opines thus:

“This sharp rise in immigration comes as a shock. These figures show just what an enormous task the coalition Government has inherited as a result of Labour’s mass immigration policy.
Firm measures are now absolutely essential. The impact on British-born workers is a particular concern that has been brushed under the carpet for too long.” 

Words to strike at the very heart of those struggling to find jobs, a roof over their heads or enough in the benefit pot to go round. Except, -  and this is the crux of the matter - nothing in the article is quite as the writer and Sir Andrew Green of Migration Watch would have us believe!

As can be seen from this Full Fact investigation, several supposedly reliable newspapers have omitted to mention, deliberately or otherwise, that the ONS net immigration figures include emigration statistics. Emigration has fallen by more than 25% since 2008 and this tends to skew the net migration total. 

To its credit, the Daily Express does mention this in the last two paragraphs of the piece, but it is disingenuously used as a stick to beat the Government with and with luck, bring about legislation to curb the 'flood' of low skilled migrant workers. 

'Matt Cavanagh, of the Institute for Public Policy Research, said:
“When they set the target in opposition, the Conservatives clearly hadn’t planned for emigration continuing to fall.
Today’s figures show that emigration of British nationals is down by more than 25 per cent since 2008. This means the Government will have to take even more drastic measures to meet their target.”

Perhaps, if successful, the Government could take much of the credit for forcing the Daily Express to come up with a different theme for its front page headlines?