Tabloid Groundhog Day

Today, Punksatawntee Peter Hill must have got out of bed and been able to see his shadow, because there's an anti-Immigration story in the Express. (If he can't see his shadow - there'll bee an anti-immigration story too. Hurrah!) It's virtually identical to one or two produced in October by the Mail that I covered just after coming back from a bit of a hiatus, in 'They're coming to turf us out of our beds and EAT OUR CHILDREN!' Parts I and II, and 'Did I mention they were going to EAT OUR CHILDREN?' Ministry of Truth covered something similar from the Express round about the same time, pointing out that this sort of rubbish goes back at least thirty years.

The story is 'Schools where children don't speak English'. All the points I could make in this post were made back then, so my job here is almost done. The same mashing together of everyone who can speak more than one language to paint a frightening picture of how many kids can't speak English at all is there. And I'll repeat my point Vladimir Nabokov speaking English as a second language. And add Vikram Seth. And Haruki Murakami. And Jhumpa Lahiri. And Joseph Conrad. And on. And on. And on.

A couple of new things - firstly, the thing about 'not speaking English to your children at home is discriminating' from Anne Cryer MP is utter, utter shite. My other half (Crackers six to ten?) is a speech and language therapist, so she kind of knows what she's on about. She's very firm about the advantages of bilingualism, and wishes more parents would speak their mother tongue to children at home, not less. Once a kid can speak English, speaking another language at home can help with a child's learning even apart from the practical benefit of being able to speak another language.

Again, there's a bit of number fudging, this time with showing the percentage of children who speak English as an additional language, then the actual number increase without showing the percentage increase in pupils who speak English as an additional language. That's a rise of one percent. Ooh, I'm so frightened.

Another weird thing about the Express's figures is that the paper puts the number of Primary school pupils at 2.9 million, and the number of Secondary school pupils at 3.2 million. The actual figures the paper is quoting puts the totals at roughly 3.3 million each. Weird, that one.

The interesting thing about this story is the use of a picture of some Muslims to illustrate a negative immigration story. Again. Sod Godwin's Law - this sort of thing works on the same level as 'Der Ewige Jude', the Nazi propaganda film that intercut a documentary about the migration of Jews with shots of teaming rats to create a connection between the two. Here we have negative stories about immigration and ethnicity mostly illustrated with pictures of Muslims to create hamfisted links between the two. How many of the girls in the picture are actually British? How many speak English? Doesn't matter for the Express.

In fact, the main difference between the Mail's old story and this 'new' one is that where the Mail attacked Polish people in its coverage, the Express attacks Muslims here, with extra attention given to the crap about Mohammed being the second most popular boy's name (if you add together all fourteen possible spellings).

If I can quote the other half again - it's not reporting the news, it's just propaganda. And anti-'ethnic', anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant propaganda at that. The Express really does seem to have become a recruiting pamphlet for the BNP.

1 comment:

James said...

I'm pretty sure Mike Godwin had something less reasoned than this article in mind.