Foreign worker scare stories - it's hard to kill what's already dead

They're back. They're not learning to eat horses rather than immigrants though.

Another foreign worker scare story has risen slowly from the mortuary slab and started shuffling toward us, its insides slopping past its floppy dead genitals to splat on the cold tiles at its feet. Tomorrow's Daily Mail headline story is 'Labour's betrayal of British workers: Nearly every one of 1.67m jobs created since 1997 has gone to a foreigner', and the Express has '97% OF JOBS GO TO IMMIGRANTS'.

The front pages look like this (you'll notice the Express contradicts its own story, big win, the Express):

Way back in January last year, I wrote a survival guide for how to deal with these stories. Have a look if you like, but the jist is that in these stories about how many new jobs have gone to foreigners, 'job' doesn't actually mean job and 'foreigner' doesn't actually mean foreigner. We're talking about people that could have been in the country for over a decade, who are British citizens and who might have even been born overseas as a British citizen, being in a job they're got since 1997 that may or may not actually be new. Other than that, spot on.

It's the same story in both papers, but the Express invents a fantastic 'attempt to silence election debate on Labour’s immigration' which it claims was 'shattered last night'. Heh.It also lies by leaving out the 'new' disclaimer from the headline of the online version.

The Express tried an almost identical calculation back in 2007, but used a different time frame. It ended up with the conclusion that migrants took more new jobs than actually existed - which is impossible. It's story about it, with a front page headline about how migrants took ALL new jobs was taken down from the website after complaints to the PCC. That's how reliable these figures are.

The Mail's version has some other familiar tabloid immigration nonsense following it, like dead-eyed corpses emerging from the drawers behind the mortuary slab to shuffle, heads lolling, toward us.

The story says:
Politicians of all parties have lamentably failed to tell the truth about how immigration has changed this country beyond recognition during Labour's 13 years in power. Here JAMES SLACK explains what is really happening...
Great. James Slack is going to tell us what's really going on. That's going to be enlightening. Here he goes:

Net inward migration to the UK, the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving, is up threefold since Labour came to power.
This is the same tired old cobblers we've heard over and over and over until we're thoroughly bored of it. Bonus points go to Slack for:
  • Saying "By 2004, fuelled by a surge in new arrivals from Eastern Europe, it reached an all-time record 244,000, and in 2007 it was 237,000," without pointing out that net migration was lower than 2007 in both 2005 and 2006.
  • Going on to criticise Gordon Brown for attempting to mislead with statistics that were provisional and not finalised after probably getting his 2007 stats from an earlier version and not the final one.

The Office for National Statistics projects that - based on current levels of migration - the UK's population of 61million, will grow to 70million by 2029.
Whooooooooh. The bogeyman 70 million figure that nobody seems to be able to explain a reason for being frightened of. Bonus points for the caption under the picture of Alan Johnson that says "Home Secretary Alan Johnson said he does not 'lie awake' worrying about Britain's immigration problem", which is, predictably, not true. He said he didn't lie awake worrying about the population hitting 70 million.

Next is 'JOBS', which just reiterates the guff we've seen before about not foreigners taking not jobs.

After that:

For much of the last decade, Britain has been a magnet for illegal immigration and it has never been possible to put a definitive figure on the numbers entering this way.
That would be because they're, you know, illegal immigrants. They keep themselves secret. That's pretty much part of the definition. 
The campaign group Migrationwatch says the true total could be as high as 870,000.
MigrationWatch said it. Must be true *guffaw*.


Officials estimated that, following EU enlargement in May 2004, between 5,000 and 13,000 Eastern Europeans would move to Britain.
Yeah, when they thought other European countries wouldn't impose restrictions on the number of eastern European immigrants. Which they did.
But by the end of 2009 the number who had signed the Home office's Worker Registration scheme alone was 1,041,315.

This does not include the self-employed or those who did not bother to sign.
But it does include people whose application was rejected, people who didn't actually come to the UK and people who have since gone home.


Handing out passports to foreign nationals is how the Labour Government changed the make-up of society for ever. In 1997 just 37,010 people were given citizenship.

Last year the Home Office approved an all-time record 203,865 applications, an increase of 58 per cent in a year.
Yes. The Labour Government handed out passports to all comers like sweets, despite introducing citizenship tests that make it a little bit harder to get a passport. Slack skirts around this by saying, "Ministers have repeatedly promised to toughen citizenship rules, most recently by insisting migrants must earn a passport by doing voluntary work." See. They just promised to. They didn't actually do anything. (Except they did).

What he isn't telling us is that a large number of these passports were awarded after the government scrapped the primary purpose rule - work that was started under the Conservatives. He's also not telling us if there are far more applications for citizenship because of the advent of improved international communication and ever cheaper travel fares, how many of these people are in Britain as the result of being hired by large, multinational companies, or - perhaps most importantly - that the 58% rise in approvals came after an unusually low number the year before becuase of a backlog that extra staff were drafted in to help shift.


Labour has never recovered from the mayhem which occurred at the start of this century, when a record number of asylum seekers poured into the UK.
Mayhem? Really?
Even on conservative estimates, it has left around 285,000 failed claimants living in Britain - but the number being removed is falling.
He's carefully skirted over that since the 'mayhem' of the early 2000s, the number of actual applications for asylum have fallen from a high of over 80,000 in 2002 to just under 25,000 in 2009 (according to 'Migration Statistics 2008 Annual Report' and the Home Office's 'Immigration and Asulym Statistics').
In 2009, there were 10,815 removals or voluntary departures, down 16 per cent on 2008.
See what he did there? He reduced the timeframe to one year, so that you can't see that in 2006 removals were at a record high since the previous record from 2003.

He's also managed to write an entire section about asylum without mentioning that the number of applications for asylum has dropped, as has the percentage of those applications that are approved by focusing purely on removals.
Of those who went, 2,985 benefited from the Assisted Voluntary Return scheme - worth £3,000 each.
Who else is going to pay, and how much does a forced deportation cost? We're not told.  The cost of removing more people while rejecting more applicants isn't even hinted at either.  As usual when the tabs focus on how much immigration apparently costs, we're never given a cost for the alternative - as if it's just going to be free.


In 1998, the number of visas handed out to overseas students was 69,607. In 2008/9, this figure had risen to 236,470.
They're handed out like sweets too then? There's no mention in this entire section of how much money these students bring to educational institutions by paying higher fees, or that universities and colleges actively encourage foreign students to enrol because of the money they bring. Funny that.
The beneficiaries included Christmas Day transatlantic flight bomb suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab - given permission by the Home Office to study mechanical engineering at University College London between 2005 and 2008
Notice how Slack doesn't bother to tell us that a later application to a fake British university was blocked, and that Abdulmutallab wasn't allowed to enter the UK except for transit purposes in 2009, when he carried out the attack.

And finally:

Arguably, the most damaging charge of them all.
Ha ha.
Former Labour advisor Andrew Neather, who worked on the report, said the aim was to 'rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.'
He also said, "There was no plot," but Slack's changed 'plot' to 'plan', which makes everything alright.

How late this bit comes in the article - right at the end - is the measure of just how reliable the idea of a secret plan is, and how weak the tabloids know the evidence is. If it were at all reliable, you'd expect this entire article to be framed with the idea and this information bang up front, but it's shunted to the end, where few readers reach. Because it's dirty, dirty pants.

So, JAMES SLACK was supposed to tell us what is really happening, but we actually get a bunch of half-truths, selective data mining and lame tricks we see all the time in the Mail. The article opens by telling us that politicians fail to tell the truth about immigration, but I'd take the word of any politician from any party over James Slack and the Daily Mail on immigration. Except the British National Party, of course - which often lifts its news stories about immigration from the Mail, Express and their favourite source, MigrationWatch.

How many voters have the two papers turned towards the BNP? Difficult to say, but the top story in the new section of the BNP website right now is 'Immigration – BNP is the only party voters can trust' (I'm not linking to shovel-headed goons, Google it) which reproduces the information in the Mail and Express's headline stories. Which were distorted stastrickery in the first place.

Great job, right wing tabloids. You've managed to inspire the fascists again.


Akela said...

Busy day at work so didn't get to look up the papers today. Strolling past a garage on the way home though I saw a copy of the Express and thought of you. Glad to see my instinctive reaction of "bollocks" was the right one!

claude said...

Typical Daily Mail column:

"We depsise the vile BNP, but they're right on just about everything".

Both the Mail and the Express are closer to the BNP's own propaganda "literature" than any other UK paper is to any other party's ideals, including the Telegraph with the Tories or Labour and the Grauniad.

jtalent1878 said...

unfortunately when people read articles like this, they don't immediately think whether the figures are skewed - they just eat them up because big numbers = truth, and so they get a false impression that anyone can come into the county and labour (i'm not doing that stupid fucking zanu impression) gives them a free house, car and benefits. seriously, that's their genuine belief. and now we have people who will be voting for the bnp simply because of the imflammatory bollocks posted in the always true daily mail/express.