They go together like Batman and Robin

The Daily Mail and misleading stories about immigration, that is. Today, we have another. It's quite a good one, and it's an expert use of the 'Withdrawn!' tactic. 'Migrant numbers triple from new EU countries' is the headline. Der Sturmer has its own version, which is a bit less clear and includes a predictable quote from MigrationWatch, but I'll be looking at the Mail because I'm sick of Der Sturmer at the moment.

The Mail says:
The number of migrant workers from Bulgaria and Romania in the UK has tripled since they joined the European Union.
Okay, gotcha. Number of migrant workers from Bulgaria and Romania have tripled. Where does this figure come from? Apparently:
Figures today show 60,000 citizens from the two Eastern European countries arrived in Britain in the three months to February, compared with 23,000 for the same period in 2005/06.
Right. Cool. Figures from the ONS, presumably, since they get a bit of a mention later in the article. So let's have a look at the figures released on 25 April about workers from the 2 new EU countries. Maybe there's a new Accession Monitoring Report or something. That's what I thought, until I found out that there aren't any figures about migrant workers that were released on 25 April. Instead, we're talking about the 'Overseas Travel and Tourism First Release' which isn't even in the 'Migration' secion, but 'Transport, Travel and Tourism'.

What the paper is 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.

Just think about that for a second. The Mail (and Der Sturmer) both think it's okay to refer to tourists as 'migrants'. Now you know why they've been favouring 'migrant' over 'immigrant' in a confusing manner recently. All the better to mislead you with, my dear.

And let's get this straight. We shouldn't be surprised that the number of people from these countries coming here to visit or work rises after we relax the regulations allowing them to do so. It wouldn't be news even if it had risen.

But anyway, see that bit where the paper said, 'The number of migrant workers from Bulgaria and Romania in the UK has tripled since they joined the European Union'? You know, the opening sentence that frames the whole article and lets the reader know what it's going to be about? Big, fat fib. The number of people visiting the UK has tripled. Sure, some might be coming to work but we can't know how many, and neither can the paper. So it fibs.

Now, let's have a look at the paper's next claim. The one that goes some way to justifying the figure for the number of workers tripling:
The Office for National Statistics estimates around one in 10 Eastern Europeans, or 2,000 a month, arriving at Britain's ports and airports plan to stay for more than three months to work or study.
Where does this claim come from? Not surprisingly, it comes from a separate document, 'Visits to the UK from the enlarged EU', which says:
During the same period, the comparable figure for visits [of less than three months] by nationals from the A8 countries to the UK was 91%.
Yes, you read that right. A8 countries. The Eastern European countries that don't include Romania and Bulgaria. The countries that don't have restrictions on how many people can work here, so will very likely have a higher proportion of people from them looking for work. That's because this document is from December. Before the accession of Romania and Bulgaria. So, you see that bit where it says 'about 2,000 a month'? The paper pulled that out it's arse.

So, the entire set up of the article is made up nonsense.

Greg Hands MP redeems himself a bit after I called him a twat in 'More bullshit from the Express', but since he contributed to the horrible nonsense in Der Sturmer, he doesn't redeem himself completely. And the inclusion of this quote, which is about scrapping the restrictions on the number of people from the two new EU countries from working, only adds to the false claim from the paper that the figures have anything to do with workers rather than tourists.

It's not until the last couple of sentences that the paper employs the 'Withdrawn!' tactic to destroy all the hard work it put into setting up the big old fibs of the opening sentences (like a kid in primary school saying something and then shouting 'not really!'). And it does so by putting the words into someone else's mouth, which has the effect of making it look as though they're lying:
A Home Office spokesman said: "These figures are not about immigration. The vast majority of people in this survey came as short-term visitors."

In total, 32.3 million people visited the UK in the year to February, up seven per cent on the previous year, while the number of UK residents going abroad rose by 2.5 per cent to 66.8 million.
And it works. You can't take everything seriously in the Mail's comments section because some of them are made by people pratting about, but can all these be spoofs?:
Yet all these so called 'caps' haven't worked have they? Immigrants flooding in from Bulgaria and Romania are not only not working but bringing their families with them. If Turkey is allowed to join the EU then potentially we will have 72,000,000 people eligible to come here. Our island will sink beneath the weight shortly!

- Patricia, Jarrow

Just another bunch of Labour voters arriving. They will probably go home once our economy is in tatters.

- Steve P, Leeds England

Because the Lab party hope they will vote for them.

- Margaret, Suffolk
Seriously, do these people think holidaymakers can vote? Well, probably not. Lickyalips has the scoop:
>>A Home Office spokesman said: "These figures are not about immigration. The vast majority of people in this survey came as short-term visitors." <<

As we have no borders controls, how would he know that?

I wonder how we'll cope when we are standing on each other's shoulders?

- Lickyalips, Richmond Surrey
This is either a brilliant parody of a Mail reader or a twat of the highest order.

It didn't work with Steve from London though. But that's because I know him. Don't let this sort of thing work on you, eh?


septicisle said...

Even by their standards this is pretty contemptible.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

I've lost count of the number of times I've thought that, but you're right.

I don't think this is the first time either. I do vaguely remember hearing about the papers using tourism figure for the number of migrants when the other Eastern European countries joined the EU.