Friday, June 15, 2007 

What's that smell? Oh, it's Richard Desmond's bullshit.

Earlier this week, Tony Blair lambasted parts of the media for being feral, in particular picking on the Independent for so much as daring to put what its editorial pages say on occasion on the front page, something that the tabloids have been doing for decades. The real feral media of course didn't get a mention.

At last they admit: immigration has damaged Britain, claims today's Express front page. As if you couldn't already guess, not once in the actual report Our shared future by the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, is the word damaged used. Nor does it say that immigration has in any way real terms made Britain a worse place. It does however make clear that the level of immigration, especially since the ascent of the former Soviet states in 2004 to the EU, has unsettled places across the country. The report, like the one which the Express last week tried to make out was predicting race riots, is instead an attempt to deal with the problems and concerns that some localised communities have, before they develop any further.

Here we go then:

MINISTERS finally admitted yesterday that opening Britain’s borders to mass immigration has fuelled racial tension.
A Government-backed report confirmed that chronic divisions were “bubbling under the surface” in many parts of the country.

Here's the paragraph (6.41) from the report where the Express has got its "bubbling under the surface" quote from:

Against the tide of expectation, far right parties failed to make the gains many were expecting in this year’s local council elections. This will be taken as a welcome sign by some that the acute tensions caused by concern around immigration have failed to materialise at a local level. However, we would draw attention to the number of places where far right parties came second – indicating that there are still chronic tensions bubbling under the surface of some local areas.

The Express has taken then a statement which is mainly of good news - and then sexed it up further still by replacing "some local areas" with "many parts of the country".

It showed that nearly two thirds of people now believe too many immigrants have been allowed into the UK.

Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly confessed: “This is a wake-up call.”

It's not until 300 words later that the Express bothers to mention that although 68% of those surveyed thought that there were too many migrants, on average 79% agreed that people of different backgrounds got on well in their local area (paragraph 2.3). It only fell below 60% in 10 out of 387 local areas polled - which by any standards suggests that in the vast majority of the country "cohesion", or concerns about tensions between races is a non-issue. Despite many thinking that there are too many migrants here, something dealt with by Stumbling and Mumbling, the report also mentions that a MORI poll from 2005 found that 62% thought multiculturalism, that concept which the tabloids and even some Labour politicians are now blaming for the rise of both Islamic and far-right extremism, made Britain a better place to live (p. 2.40), while back in January of this year another MORI poll 58% agreed that immigrants made Britain more open to new ideas and culture. Strangely, nowhere in the article does the Express mention that 56% also felt that some groups in Britain get unfair priority over others in the public services (p. 2.46), probably because they know full well that they have more than a hand in encouraging such a view even though they know it's completely untrue.

Last night the report was being seen as vindication at last of the warnings repeatedly raised against relaxing border controls by the Daily Express and other campaigners.

How very modest!

Critics of Labour’s decision to relax immigration controls were vilified and decried as “racist” by ministers. But after record numbers of newcomers have swelled the population and put crippling pressure on public services and housing, ministers are now in retreat.

Really? Could we have some direct quoting evidence of this please, especially seeing as of late both John Reid and Ruth Kelly have been at pains to make clear just how unwelcome "political correctness" and allegations of racism are in the debate over integration. Additionally, Michael Howard at the last election said it wasn't racist to put limits on immigration, and everyone mocked him for suggesting that anyone had ever said it was. Again, where's the evidence that there is crippling pressure on public services and housing? The Audit Commission found that there was very little to suggest that migrants were to blame for any such pressure, and while it found that migrant workers were in some areas adding to the demand for affordable rented property, they have very little to no rights to council housing, and as the debate over Margaret Hodge's comments showed, the real problem has long been the mass-selling of council stock that simply hasn't been replaced.

Much as I often find myself disagreeing with Polly Toynbee, and the attacks in her article today on the internet for being full mainly of right-wing cynics and haters are far from the full truth, she couldn't be more right in her opening gambit:

It's a fleet of runaway JCB diggers without driver or brakes, beyond accountability or control even by those who nominally run them.

And they'll do whatever they can to prove themselves right, as today's Express article shows.

Labels: , , ,

Share |


  • This is septicisle


Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates