Recycling old, old figures and pretending they're new, with MigrationWatch, the Express and the Mail

Sometimes, when you're a plank like me who spends a lot of time examining tabloid rubbish, coming back to look at the papers after a long break can be a bit confusing.   You've seen everything before, especially when you're looking at immigration scare stories.

The same themes are covered, with the same actual numbers with quotes from the same boring talking heads.  It's like a racist Groundhog Day.  If Punxsutawney Phil sticks his head out, 'IMMIGRATION IS OUT OF CONTROL' and if he doesn't, 'IMMIGRATION IS OUT OF CONTROL'.  Yuck.  When do I get to punch the twat trying to sell me something I'm not buying?

Sometimes the lies the paper uses to shoehorn in warmed over old figures can be different though. Take yesterday's 'More than 700 migrants a day have been let in to Britain since Labour came to power'. Using the magic words, "according to the Daily Express," which is about on a par with saying, "according to that bloke swinging a plastic bag and shouting Bible verses in French next to Victoria Station," in terms of reliability,* the Mail regales us with the same flipping figures I looked at way back in March and covered both here and over at MailWatch.

Back then, following a press release from MigrationWatch, the paper hung its outrage about 11% of the population being immigrants on the hook of it meaning immigration was way higher here than anywhere else in the world. Which was bollocks, by the way.

This time, following a press release from MigrationWatch, the paper (and, presumably the Express - there doesn't seem to be an article about this on the site, unless the paper's talking about some dodgy Leo McKistry bit of rubbish) is hanging its outrage on the idea that more than 700 migrants a day have come to the UK since 1997. Which is bollocks, by the way.

The paper doesn't really know the total number of migrants who have come to live in the UK since 1997, it's speculating based on there being a rise of 2.3 million between 2001 and 2008 and 2.2 million between 1991 and 2001 - so how can it confidently say 'more than 700 a day'? It can't, but MigrationWatch said it was 'nearly 700 a day' so naturally the paper made some extra shit up rather than go with the source.

It's odd to see these figures quoted in the context that they are. The Mail says:
Estimates of the level of immigration were produced to 'fill the gap' left by the Government's unreliable statistics of the past dozen years.

The findings were slipped out without notice last month and only revealed yesterday after academics discovered them and reported them to an immigration think-tank.

The figures dwarf ministers' past admissions of migrant numbers and bear out the forecasts of critics who warned that immigration was running dangerously out of control.
The 'immigration think tank' is MigrationWatch. Strange that the Mail should be coy about that. It makes me wonder if the 'academics' the story talks about include MigrationWatch co-founder, Professor David Coleman. MigrationWatch's press release gives us no clue, since it doesn't mention any academic but the Mail does slip up later and say, "The Migrationwatch think-tank, which drew attention to the Oxford Economics report," so maybe there were no mysterious academics who brought attention to it. Gee, d'you think?

In any case, the report was published and made available for free on the DCLG website, beyond that the paper isn't clear about what else it thinks should have been done. I wonder if the Mail imagines that the DCLG carries out expensive marketing for all its studies. Mind you, I did see adverts for 'Residential mobility and outcome change in deprived areas', which 'examines the nature and impact of residential mobility on outcome change in the New Deal for Communities areas with a focus on how 6 case study partnerships experience and address issues raised by residential mobility in their areas' plastered all over the tube next to the grinning mugs of Ant and Dec; and 'Raising educational attainment in deprived areas: the challenges of geography and residential mobility for area-based initiatives' was the subject of that high profile television campaign that saw it projected across Mylene Klass's buttocks, so maybe the paper has a point.**

But we know these figures weren't quietly sneaked out only a month ago. MigrationWatch produced an outraged scare story that was churned by the Mail back in March. Sure, there was a new report released last month, but neither the Mail or MigrationWatch reveal anything from it that's new.  So why the extra confected outrage?

The Mail does slap a link in the middle of its story to 'BNP leader Nick Griffin: Lots of Hindus, Sikhs and ethnic minority Britons support my anti-immigrant views', which manages to present all Nick Griffin's claims from a Sky News interview completely uncritically.  Why, it's almost as if MigrationWatch, the Express and the Mail have deliberately chucked out new coverage of seven month old immigration figures to coincide with Nick Griffin appearing on Question Time. Well done, the Daily Mail. Hurrah for the blackshirts and all that.

*I actually had to rack my brain for ages before I could think of anyone less reliable than the Express so I could make that gag work.

**I thought of Mylene Klass's buttocks for ages while I was coming up with that gag. It would have worked just as well with David Starkey, but there you go. I must suffer for my art.


eric the fish said...

You know that Ms Klass is now a shoe0in for Rear of the Year now that all your visitors have that mental image all day.

Gear as usual.

Anonymous said...

I had a look at that report and noted that the percentage of workers who were born outside this country was pretty much in line with the OECD average. So why the huge panic?

The other thing that I noted about MigrationwatchUK (that is important) is that they quote a population density figure for England. Isn't that being a little dishonest - a UK wide group quoting a figure for one part of the UK only when it suits their purpose?