The usual kind of tabloid racism. Almost makes you nostalgic

There's a slight return to form for coded racism in today's Express, and another example of the style of coded racism we're used to seeing in the Daily Mail today.

The two stories are 'How a baby boom among migrants is rapidly changing the face of Britain' in the Express, and 'East European influx 'could trigger race riots in villages'' in the Mail.

This is the sort of thing we're used to seeing reported in the right wing press. The Black and Ethnic Minority population isn't usually directly blamed in the same way as Der Sturmer's last effort, which also cringemakingly used the BNP's preferred terminology of 'ethnics' to describe them. Instead we get a proxy group to stand in for them, like asylum seekers or Muslims. It's what we get with these two articles.

First, the Express again on a similar theme to before. This is exactly what we're used to seeing. Migrant baby boom - note the migrant - is what's 'changing the face of Britain', whatever than means. There's a nice picture of some brown people getting on a train to Marseilles. They're going to change us into France!

Anyway, it's just as exaggerated and obfuscatory, trying to distract the reader from smoke and mirrors. The opening is about immigrants 'helping' to push Britain's birth rate up. They still count for less than a quarter. There's a nice little plug for the earlier BNP-esque article, followed by some more nonsense about Mohammed being the second most popular name.

As for the nonsense about that - first of all, it isn't unless you combine all possible spellings. Second of all, Mohammed is an incredibly, incredibly common name among Muslims. How many other traditionally Muslim names are there in the top 100 boy's baby names for England and Wales? Guess, go on. Six? Four? One? No. The answer is none. None more Muslim names. All ninety-seven other names in the top 100 are not Muslim at all.
And how many in the girls' names? None again. At all.

But notice the conflation of Muslim with immigrant here. Some of the people called Mohammed might have grandparents born in the UK, but they'll never be British in the Express. Just in case you hadn't made the connection - or rather, the disconnection - between Muslim and British women, the next paragraph is about British women. Nice. I'd like to just address the point about the Muslim birth rate being three times as high. So what? The entire Muslim population of the country stands at less than three percent.

See, there's a nice bit of shifting definitions and figures here. The one fifth of births to mothers born outside the UK doesn not represent the number of Muslim births, and the Muslim birth rate being three times as high as the non-Muslim birth rate does not mean that three times as many babies have been born to Muslim parents. Why doesn't the paper give us a number for the overall proportion of those births? Because it would be too small to scaremonger with.

As is quite common with Express articles, this one contradicts itself just over half way through. Bizarrely, it talks about immigrant birth rates 'changing the face of Britain', then talks about what good news it is that the birth rate is so high, then says:
But experts warned yesterday that the surge in birth rates might be short-lived. They said many migrants from EU countries such as Poland and Romania who came to Britain with their husbands for work, may only stay for a few years to earn a decent wage before returning to their families and friends back home.
Are they changing the face of Britain or not? Make your bloody mind up!

There's one marvellous comment on this article (as long as it's not a wind up). Here are some nice bits:
It has long been said they breed like rabbits and these figures prove it!. [...]
Our own responsible young people are unable to afford a house or flat and these scroungers get it all handed on a plate. This situation is obsene and will destroy this country.[...]
These idiots are very good at spending other peoples money and scounging but very bad at paying their own way!.
You know what? I'd probably think the same if I believed what I read in the Express.

Overall though, this article is the usual confused jumble of opening with a negative conclusion from something they actually can only find positive comments about. It purports to be about the birth rate of immigrants, but it isn't really. It's about Muslims. Muslims are bundled together confusingly with immigration all the time with this paper, usually to hide its dog-whistle stuff, which is why the article I last looked at was so unusual. Except in that it included two women in niqabs to illustrate the theme of ethnic minorities. The caption in this one mentions the Muslim birth rate as well, just to hammer the connection between Muslims and migration home a bit more forcefully.

There is a nice companion piece that goes along with this one : 'Is the scale of migration changing Britain for the worse?' Just so you're not in any doubt of which way to vote, there's a nice illustrative picture of some immgrants (natch - Muslims in niqab). It's the really neutral one that doesn't give a negative impression at all of one niqab-earing Muslim flicking the vs at the camera. Some nice knuckle dragging comments too.

Next, the Mail article. Funny how this one is so similar to the Express one about 'ethnics' breeding like rabbits and causing riots.

The scapegoat du jour is the Eastern European migrant in the Mail, so this article naturally focuses on Eastern Europeans. I suspect that the Mail would have done the same had it covered the report that the Express pretended was about 'ethnics' causing riots. As ever, it misrepresents something that has been said to exaggerate and scaremonger, but whod have thought anything different?

It's also by James Slack, the hack responsible for lots of Eastern European migrant number massaging to exaggerate how many people are currently intent on murdering us in our beds whilst juggling a spirit level and a plunger and riding a unicycle. This is important. Remember it for later.

The full report it claims to be talking about hasn't been published yet, so it's likely the article is based on another one, this time 'Rural towns face risk of community tension flare-ups' from the Local Government Chronicle.

First things first - the article doesn't say an Eastern European influx 'could trigger race riots in villages'. The phrase 'could trigger race riots in villages' doesn't appear anywhere in the article, so this is another example of lying with quotation marks.

I'm sure I don't really need to go through this again with another article, but the one in the Local Government Chronicle doesn't talk about triggering riots in villages at all, in fact. What it does is warn that there's more likely to be tension about migration in areas that aren't used to seeing it, like rural villages. That's a bit of a 'no shit Sherlock' statement and doesn't blame dirty foreigners, so you can see why the Mail couldn't give a straight representation.

The Mail article starts:
Race riots could erupt in rural towns and villages with large numbers of Eastern European immigrants, a Government report will warn.
If the Local Government Chronicle article is anything to go by - no it won't.

Here's the only quote that mentions the likelihood of rioting. It deserves reproducing:
“I think we would all be complacent if we thought tensions would only arise in urban areas, but I don't think we will get a large number of people arriving here at once. I don't think we would anticipate there being rioting on the streets.” [Emphasis mine].
Now look at the Mail headline and opening sentences again.

The only mention it makes of rioting actually taking place is in connection with beered up goons throwing bottles at a Portugese managed pub in Suffolk after England were knocked out of the World Cup. Last time I checked, Portugal wasn't exactly in eastern Europe. I witnessed something similar with some red faced tosser screaming at a bloke in a Portugal shirt at Oxford Circus tube on the same day. 'How can you wear that fucking shirt? You're in the capital of fucking England!' he eloquently slobbered. It wasn't the presence of the Portugese bloke that was to blame though. It was the presence of the shouty red gorilla. Would the Mail blame the Portugese people who managed the pub for making the goons throw bottles?

In fact, we already know. Back in October, there were reports in the press about a riot in Windsor where a Muslim owned dairy was apparently firebombed. In 'Firebombed Muslims 'Asking for it'', I covered how the mail blamed the dairy owners.

The reason I mentioned who wrote the article is to make a small comparison between some figures. In the two misleading articles '1 in 4 Eastern bloc migrants want to stay here for good' and 'One third of all Eastern Europeans want to stay in Britain permanently' (see the difference already, which one's right? Neither of course), James Slack gives a figures of either 160,000 or 157,000 Eastern Europeans who want to stay here permanently, but in this article, he's shifted back to 630,000 without bothering to mention that he thinks that three quarters won't want to stay. Not exactly honest, this bloke, given that he's responsible for triggering the seven part extravaganza 'How the Daily Mail tells lies about immigration'. He's probably the Mail's immigration correspondent or something. If there's not a special room reserved in the ninth circle of hell with that job title on the door, the devil doesn't deserve the name.

So it's the same depressingly familiar situation of articles that distort and misrepresent something someone else has said until it says something that is in fact pretty much the opposite.

It is nice that neither actually blame things on 'ethnics', although their readers will possibly make the connection.

Even so, how can either possibly still be arguing against the BNP, as they do? What is it exactly that differs from their line and the goons' line? I think the papers would be hard pressed to come up with any argument other than, 'We don't like the BNP because . . . because . . . they smell!'

1 comment:

Jan Tregeagle said...

Bravo sir! A fine expose.