It's Christmas for the tabloids!

Today, two sets of stats are published that may cause much salivating and rubbing of thighs at the bottom end of our low quality newspaper market come tomorrow.

First, we have the May Labour Market Statistics (pdf - via Labour Market statistics at the ONS).  These are always popular, since they can be farted around with to make it look like every new job in some time period or other went to a dirty foreigner.

Here's the sort of calculation the tabloids will make:

Jan-Mar 2010 Jan-Mar 2011Change
Total number in employment: 28,726,000 29,142,000 +416,000
Total non-UK Nationals: 2,262,000 2,501,000 +239,000

So, you could say that foreigners took around 57% of new jobs in this period, but that wouldn't really be true.  Remember the blue and red marbles from this post.  We don't know how many people retired, died, left the workforce because of disability or how many more people went into full time education rather than work by nationality.  Without knowing this, we can't be sure how many people were really added to the workforce in the sense of individuals getting a job when they didn't have one before.  If we knew these things, it's likely that they would take the share of UK-born people added to the workforce up a few notches.

Even still, this probably isn't the actual calculation the tabloids will make.  There is another set of figures they like to pounce on for their scary headlines, and it's this one:

Jan-Mar 2010 Jan-Mar 2011Change
Total number in employment: 28,726,000 29,142,000 +416,000
Total non-UK born: 3,709,000 4,044,000 +335,000

Gah!  80% 0f new jobs go to migrants!  Extra bullshit points go to any papers that bump up the hyperbole to say 80% of jobs go to foreigners, but whether they do depends on which paper gets there first to be churned.  The same things apply to these figures as the above ones, with the added bonus of not knowing how many of these people are UK nationals born overseas to parents who were UK nationals at the time.

Even so, it says a lot about the tabloids that they'd rather use figures that make people from overseas undesirable and worthy of being viewed as a problem for life, regardless of how long they've been in the UK and regardless of their nationality.

Regardless of what the papers do, the one thing they're sure to ignore is that the percentage of the UK born and the percentage of UK nationals in work stayed about the same, rising by 0.3%. Foreigners are hardly coming in their droves and putting everyone else out of work.

The next set of figures that might get the tabloids hot under the collar are the Population by Ethnic Group 2002-2009 estimates (pdf - England & Wales only - via Population Estimates at the ONS).They give a good opportunity for a ZOMG! 1 in six are ethnics!Headline. In 2001, the figure was 1 in 8. The sky will fall on our heads!

Still, in common with the UK born/citizen employment rate, the number of "White British" people in England & Wales was roughly the same in 2009 as it was in 2001 - around 45.7 million.

All things staying at the same rate, for the "White British" to become a minority as the paper claimed in 'By 2066, white Britons 'will be outnumbered' if immigration continues at current rates', (based on projections of Professor David Coleman, of MigrationWatch infamy), the population would have to hit 90 million.

Coleman's projections had the population at less than that by 2083. Not looking so good is it?

Of course, the important thing here is a similar one to the workforce figures.  No matter how long people who aren't white stay in the country, no matter how many generations their family have been here for, they will always be regarded as undesirable, a problem, something to worry about.

White immigrants can become '"White British" as quick as they like.  These figures are only based on what people describe themselves as (not where they were born, as the Mail erroneously reported). ;My mate, who's dad's from Ireland and mum is half Greek is "White British". My other mates, who were born and grew up in the same neighbourhood, will never be classed in the same way, and neither will their children, or their children's children.

If you think their presence in the country is something to worry or wring your hands about because they're different colours - well, there's a word for that.

Perhaps the Mail will realise this after they called people who might think about using that word "sanctimonious", and they'l lay off these figures.  We'll see.

I'm strangely looking forward to how Tom Whitehead will look at these after his Bullshit award win last month.

Like Mystic Meg, I got it right with the last one.  Mystic Bloody Meg!


csh said...

I studied American history at university one of the things I found most fascinating was the discourse about who is "white" and who isn't. For years in the States Italians weren't white, Greeks weren't white, Jewish people certainly weren't. All this stuff is so subjective and depends on so much. I think it's really relevant in today's debates about immigration.

Carl said...

Surely in the spirit of reporting things that aren't true this post should be renamed "It's Winterval for the tabloids"?