How much is an Express headline worth?

Taking a break from the Christmas nonsense, we have a cracking example of how Express headlines aren't worth the paper they're written on in today's edition. (See left - thanks Mailwatch).

I probably don't ned to bother typing this bit, but - the workers were not sacked because they were British, but because they charge more money for their services. If this vital fact had been different, they wouldn't have been sacked. If the Polish workers had charged more than the British ones, they wouldn't have been awarded the contract. They're called market forces. The use of the word 'we' is also interesting. It's the paper's way of implying we should all be scared of foreigners taking our jobs, not just the people in this article.

It's funny that the Express should worry about the treatment of workers quite so much, given that its proprietor made his money in the employment relations heaven that is pornography, but there you go.

It really isn't necessary to go through the whole article point by point to prove it's rubbish, but I have belatedly picked up on a turn of phrase that I've seen here and in the Mail:
thousands of workers from countries such as Poland
'Countries such as Poland' is presumably the phrase the papers can use as a figleaf to attack the Polish. A figleaf that's a bit too small and doesn't really cover very much so you can still see a bit of bollock. It's a small example of the 'Withdrawn!' tactic I talk about in the predictably headlined, 'Withdrawn!'. This article is littered with references to the Polish and Poles, and the article really wants to lay into the Polish by talking about thousands of Poles flooding our shores, but if it said 'thousands of Polish workers', it'd be stretching it a bit, because there are thousands of workers from more than one Eastern European country. So 'countries such as Poland' does the job admirably.

Of course, the obvious point is that if we had decent Unions, this wouldn't happen. New workers could join and have the chance to earn higher wages, and employers would no longer have an incentive to hire non-British workers - especially as they'd be facing strikes if they hired non-unoinised labour. But of course, a right wing paper like this one cannot possibly make that argument - so the way it addresses the problem is by demonising the Polish. Nice.

If I can get all 'a little bit of politics' for a minute, there's a great quote from one of the workers involved:
I’ve also voted Labour all my life but I’ll never vote for them again. Tony Blair is letting people like me down. A lot of us are family men who now have to go back and tell them just before Christmas that we’ve been fired.
Labour ought to be the party that fights for Unions and workers' rights. It ought to be the natural party for people like this guy to turn to, but it isn't any more. And something that is partly the fault of the press is that it's now pretty much seen as the party who support foreigners over British people. So now that the politics of the country has shifted quite a few steps to the right, the only response to a story like this quite a large chunk of people will have is 'Polish people must be stopped from entering the country because they're actively taking our work.' Not 'employers should be prohibited from exploiting any of their workers by paying them low wages.'

The Mail, the Express and the Sun can all pat themselves on the back for at least a part of that.

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