Let's get ready to rumble!

New migration stats have been released today. See all the figures here if you like Migration Statistics Quarterly Report.

Usually, the Mail is all over these like chocolate-flavoured-coating on a choc ice, but here are some things that won't make any headlines (below the jump):

    Total immigration in 2008 was down slightly from 2007 (from 527,000 to 512,000)
    Net migration fell by 44%, and was at its lowest since 2004
    Immigration from A8 countries (Eastern European countries who joined the EU in 2004) dropped by 28% from 2007, and is at its lowest level since the countries joined the EU (although this isn't statistically significant at the 95% confidence level, apparently)
    Emigration of A8 citizens more than doubled from 25,000 to 66,000
    The number of A8 citizens applying to the Worker Registration Scheme fell to the lowest level since 2004 (and 2004's figures start in May, nearly halfway through the year)
    The number of non-British citizens emigrating increased by 50% to 237,000
    The number of British citizens emigrating fell from 202,000 last year to 158,000

Now, I say usually the Mail is all over these figures, but as you can see from these initial figures, all the Mail's lovely lovely goodness buttons were pressed with fewer dirty foreigners with murder in their eyes coming in, and more dirty forigners and fewer UK citizens leaving.

So, what should we expect from the Mail?

The figures don't leave much wiggle room for scaremongering, so we can't rule out the paper either ignoring them or actually covering the figures in a way slightly approaching properly (but of course, turning all these things into negatives, like it did with earlier news that more and more Eastern Europeans were leaving). But there are still a few ways to fart about with these. The paper might:

1. Remove context and focus on the hard numbers with passing references buried low down about how these are rises in what the Mail thinks is good and drops in what it thinks are bad.
2. Compare the number of British citizens emigrating with the total immigration number for people from every country, like in 196,000 out, 574,000 in: Record numbers leaving Britain for new life abroad - as immigration to UK soars
3. Include misleading references to the Government predicting that 13,000 Eastern Europeans would come to the UK every year, and compare it with the one million total number who applied to the Worker Registration Scheme (including those who had their application rejected, those who never arrived, those who arrived for a period shorter than a year and all those who have actually left).
4. Downplay all these figures in favour of the newer figures on the race of emigrants, published back in April (which you can find at ''Population Estimates by Ethnic Group (experimental)'). These actually show the highest level of emigration of 'white British' people since 2001, so the paper won't have to fart around pretending that Irish people are British. They're from 2007 though, so some amount of farting will be done to compare them with the other new figures I've mentioned, which come from 2008.

The paper's first reaction 'Baby boom pushes Britain's population past 61m in biggest jump for almost half a century' (this may change throughout the day - so don't be surprised by a different headline or something that doesn't sound like how I describe it) focuses on how population is being notched up by birth rates being higher than immigration for the first time in ages, so earkly indicatiors suggest that the paper's line will take the 'we have a high birth rate so we need to reduce immigration further' approach. Early comments include some comedy gold.

Let's wait and see, eh?

The Baby Boom story has gone through at least 9 versions throughout the day, getting longer as it goes. The links to the story from the front page originally started with the words 'Migrant baby boom', but the 'migrant' has disappeared. There's been a little bit of fannying about to find the scariest figure possible, but more on that later. At the moment, it's bylined DAILY MAIL REPORTER and doesn't seem to have had the full James Slack/Steve Doughty treatment yet so by tomorrow we could have a corker - will full front page in the dead tree version status, but we'll see.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I can't wait...Oh hang on, yes I bloody well can.

eric the fish said...

White flight maybe?

Although the figures are down, Mr slack et al could just highlight the figures and not mention the decrease.

Ring up the Greens (Andrew, Damon and Hughie)and get a nice quote.

I need to work but I'll have a peak through one eye at the Mail upon getting home.

devolute said...

These figures are not from the beloved Migrationwatch, so probably will be rendered irrelevant.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

So far, the paper has been constantly revising and updating the Baby Boom story, focusing on the number of births with mothers born outside the UK, and keeping all these migration figures woven in with those. It has sort of been honestly reporting the drops though.

Looks as though we'll get focusing on the population growth (especially to foreign mothers). The Telegraph is going with baby boom driven partly by immigration angle.

That's how you turn positive (for the right wing press) immigration figures into negative coverage about immigration. Ka-POW!

Duncan Stott said...

The Sun's headline: "Randy couples push population to 61m" + photo of nudy models having some sexy time. Well it's one spin...

Jamie Sport said...

Heh, good work!

I can just imagine Slack, Chapman, Doughty and Dacre huddled around the typewriter desperately trying to twist the statistics into something resembling a migrant influx.

'Perhaps if we carry the 2...exclude this month maybe...and count pensioners as immigrants, it'll look right'

eric the fish said...

according to ITV look at Front pages it seems someting like Migration Baby Boom.

Akela said...


Looks like an unexpected slant is being taken this time. Remember folks, immigration is a bad thing, unless you have the right skin colour/speak the right language.

No Sleep 'Til Brooklands said...

It does say 'Migrant baby boom' in the title now, and the opening line is currently "An immigrant baby boom is fuelling Britain's fastest population growth in half a century". The link on the front page is currently the 'migrant' version too. It is fun to watch the Mail edit its stories specifically to add stuff about immigrants.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

It is on the front page of the dead tree. Working on a post now, but today's a bit busy.