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Tuesday, May 22, 2007 

Taking our women and taking our jobs.

At the weekend the Mail on Sunday found itself facing the full ire of bloggers after it printed a hatchet job on Owen Barder, a Labour blogger who has since taken up a £100,000 job in the civil service. While that article was full of lies and distortions, nothing in it even comes close to two recent articles about immigration.

On the 25th of April, the Mail claimed that the number of migrant workers from Bulgaria and Romania, who joined the EU at the beginning of the year, had tripled compared to the same number who had came here in the same time period in the previous year. The Mail's figure was that 60,000 had came in the three months to February. As Five Chinese Crackers pointed out at the time:

What the paper has done is take the number of visitors from EU25 countries (pre-January EU countries) and subtract it from the number from EU27 countries (post-January EU countries) to find out the total from the two new EU countries. So, the number of people visiting has trebled.

It got the figures in the first place from the Overseas Travel and Tourism First Release (PDF). Yes, that's right, these numbers weren't from any sort of official statistics but in fact from data collected on the numbers of tourists, making them completely and utterly meaningless. That didn't stop them from starting the article with "[T]he number of migrant workers from Bulgaria and Romania in the UK has tripled since they joined the European Union" though, which was a blatant lie.

The Mail wasn't satisfied with just 20,000 a month, which still seems relatively paltry compared to the number of Poles who've came here to work. A further sexing up of the figures was necessary. On the 10th of May, the Mail's social affairs correspondent Steve Doughty breathlessly reported:

The number of visitors from Eastern Europe has risen by a quarter since Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU, a Government survey has revealed.

The first count taken since the beginning of the year shows there were around 50,000 arrivals each month from the two new members.

The count, at ports and airports, suggests that warnings of a new flood of immigrants could be coming true.

Again, Five Chinese Crackers took the Mail to task:

The actual number of extra visitors from the two new EU countries so far since accession in January compared to last year is just 29,000. Yes, the Mail's original 'Migrant numbers triple' story claimed a rise from 23,000 in three months of 2006 to 60,000 in 2007, but it was using the figures of December 2006 to February 2007, including one month before accession. The more recent figures show that the number of visitors from January to March 2006 was 31,000, and in the same period of 2007, the figure is 60,000. So, the actual number of extra visitors from the two new EU countries in March 2007 is around 10,000. The Mail implies that the accession of the two new countries is responsible for a rise of 50,000. Does the Mail lie much?

Do bears keep Andrex handy in case they get caught short in the woods?

Today the official quarterly migration figures were released by the Home Office. Have we indeed been flooded by vampires and gypsies?

Err, no:

Only 8,000 Romanians and Bulgarians came to work in Britain in the first three months after their countries joined the European Union on January 1, according to official figures published today.

The Home Office figures show that 10,418 Romanians and Bulgarians applied for permission to work in Britain between January and March this year, of which 7,935 were granted. The figures include 2,660 who registered as self-employed and 200 who described themselves as "self-sufficient". About two-thirds were Romanian.

In other words, the Mail was either out by 52,000, going by its first report, or by 142,000, if you believed Steve Doughty. This isn't just being slightly out; these are massively erroneous articles that will have only encouraged the belief that we're being "swamped" by migrants when this is clearly not the case. The other figures released today also show that the number of migrants coming from the other eastern European countries which joined the EU in 2004 dropped by 16,000 compared to the same time last year.

How then does the Mail spin getting it so completely and utterly wrong? Why, by implying that the figures themselves are hiding the reality, of course!

10,000 Bulgarians and Romanians come to work in UK in three months - but that's just the official ones


Today's figures, which do not detail the numbers of Romanians or Bulgarians who have come to live rather than work, show that 5,075 have had applications to work here approved.

Quite why Romanians and Bulgarians would come here to live if they hadn't got a job (the numbers of self-employed are unlikely to be that high. Correction: the self-employed are included in the R/B figures, but not in the data from the other eastern European countries) or family sadly isn't explained, but that doesn't matter. The doubt has been sown; you can't trust this government, after all. If our media were honest, it would use these figures to show that the worst case scenario predicted by the likes of Migration Watch has not come to pass. Instead, the Mail has done the absolute opposite, as has the Scum. It might be glib to say so, but while Margaret Hodge helps the BNP one day a year, the right-wing tabloids do it every day.

Update: the Mail article has since been changed. See Five Chinese Crackers (again) for more, and above once I post later.

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The Mail might have changed their article since you posted. The article's still full of poo though.

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