MigrationWatch - it's a tough existence, being anti-immigration

MigrationWatch has issued a press release and - ooh, a study. Since MigrationWatch was 'one of the few voices consistently raised in opposition to mass immigration during the Blair and Brown years', we'll have to look directly at the press release to see what it's all about, since there's such a lack of opposition to mass immigration to be found that it probably got no coverage.

Oh, silly me. It's all over the papers this morning. And Sir Andrew Green gets space in the second biggest selling newspaper in the country to expand on the release. It's the tough life of the underdog, being anti-immigration in the UK. You literally have to cobble together some old nonsense you've already said and bung it all together in a press-release and study issued to pre-empt the release of official figures that have been leaked to you ahead of publication to get coverage in all the best selling newspapers.

Let's all head over to 'How Labour let in 3 million immigrants, in defiance of the overwhelming wishes of the British people' and have a look at what Sir Andrew Green has to say for himself, eh?

He opens:
Official figures to be published on Thursday will confirm that foreign immigration under Labour added more than three million to our population.

At the same time nearly one million British citizens voted with their feet, some saying that they were leaving because England was no longer a country that they recognised.
I love how this co-opts the UK citizens leaving the country to make it look as though most left because "'England' was no longer a country that they recognised", despite not actually knowing the motives (hey - maybe they left because they got a good job, or wanted an extended stay abroad) and despite some of these people leaving countries other than England.

These figures are presented in an unclear and potentially misleading fashion here. Full Fact has had a closer look at where these figures come from, and come to the conclusion that the 3 million figure is net foreign migration to the UK. That's what Migrationwatch's press releasesays, but I'd rather wait until the actual figures are published, since the report itself gives a different impression, making it look as though the 3 million figure is the total number for inward migration.  In any case, if the argument is purely about overcrowding, why split UK born and non-UK born like this?

How could all this have happened in the teeth of public opposition? Even the Labour government’s own survey last February showed that 77 per cent of the public wanted immigration reduced, including 54 per cent of the ethnic communities, while 50 per cent of the public wanted it reduced ‘by a lot’.
Hey! Isn't there something missing here? Wasn't there a study published this February that showed the majority of people in the UK do indeed think immigration is too high - until they're told exactly how high it is? It seems 'the public' overestimates the level of mmigration to the UK. Now, why might that be, Sir Andrew, when you've just put out a report that says things like, "England (not the UK) is already, with Holland, the most crowded country in Europe (apart from Malta)" when according to official Dutch figures, it really, really isn't?
Mass immigration is an entirely different matter. The question now is how did it happen and what can be done about it. Was it all a Labour conspiracy? Was it sheer incompetence in government? Or was it wholesale retreat in front of the race relations lobby?
Or was it dealing with a complex and difficult global phenomenon with different assumptions to Sir Andrew Green? Maybe it was that. Just a thought.
The strongest evidence for conspiracy comes from one of Labour’s own. Andrew Neather, a previously unheard-of speechwriter for Blair, Straw and Blunkett, popped up with an article in the Evening Standard in October 2009 which gave the game away.
Heh. I love this. This time last year, MigrationWatch was crowing that they had the smoking gun that proved there was a secret conspiracy to import voters. There was one small problem with it. It was cack. I wrote why in this article over at MailWatch. Nice to see Sir Andrew dropping that particular nonsense and kick it under the carpet, whistling. Not to mention funny.

It's also funny that Sir Andrew has rolled back from the 'smoking gun' claim to an earlier one, by selectively quoting some things from Andrew Neather, but not his response to the storm his Standard article kicked up, which was:
There was no plot.
He also said his views had 'been twisted out of all recognition' by the people saying he'd signalled a plot.  But he would say that, the dirty plotting bastard.  How could you argue in the face of such strong evidence?

Sir Andrew goes on to say:
The result is now plain for all to see. Even Blair’s favourite think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), commented recently: ‘It is no exaggeration to say that immigration under New Labour has changed the face of the country.’
Pity he misses out the very next paragraph of the IPPR report, which says:
There was no conspiracy to bring about this huge social change. New Labour did not deliberately set out to turn the UK into a huge multi-racial melting pot and so prevent the Conservatives from ever winning power again, as implied by former Number 10 adviser Andrew Neather in an article seized upon by right-wing commentators. Indeed, as Ed Owen describes, far from having a grand plan to transform Britain, New Labour didn’t have a plan at all.

There follows a curious thing. The man who says his opposition to immigration has nothing to do with race uses a breakdown of people of darker skinned races who voted Labour, according to a 2005 study that doesn't break down how many were migrants or how recently those that were arrived in the UK. Weird that.

The article closes with the head of the, ahem 'non-political' think-tank crowing about the government's immigration policy, and saying:
This will be uphill work, and the Liberal Democrat partners in the Coalition can be expected to make difficulties (so it will be essential to remain vigilant).
You know what I like about that conclusion? The total lack of political bias in support for the government who seem to be leaking figures to Migrationwatch ahead of publication.

The MigrationWatch site says this:
Unlike most organisations in this field, we receive no subsidy from the government in any form and have no intention of seeking one.
Most anti-immigration pressure groups get funding from the government, do they?  Tell you what, I'd like to see a list of actual donors. There's no subsidy from government, but what about the people who subsidise the main political party in government?  What about that party's supporters?  What about other, less popular political parties?


lushd said...

Huge multi-racial melting pot... I love the brazen-ness of that.

According to the ONS 89% of British residents were born here. Or to put it another way, 9 out 10. So some of them have that thing that makes their skin a bit darker than some of the others. But all have been brought up with Coronation Street, expensive and unreliable public transport, drizzle, terrible customer service, Posh Spice and all the other character forming horrors of life here.

I really would prefer it if Migration Watch was straight about its racism and didn't try to disguise it in this fake sociology. It makes them twice as odious and adds dishonesty to their long list of moral failings.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Migrationwatch do seem to have been creeping further toward a position that focuses much less on the one about sheer numbers of people it used to claim was its only focus.

We're getting worries about 'changing the face of Britain' much more frequently now - and of course David Colemen had his argument about how the 'white British' will be a minority by 2066 late last year (mentioned in the current press release, attributed to 'one of the country's leading demographers' without mentioning he's one of Migrationwatch's founders and an advisor to them).

Hey - perhaps they were just as concerned with the type of people migrating to Britain as the numbers. Ahem.

Anonymous said...

"Three quarters (75 per cent) of Britons believe that immigration is currently a problem, according to new research released today by Ipsos MORI" 21 Feb 2011, Ipsos MORI website.

Difficult to argue with the will of the British electorate...

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Hi Anonymous,

As I said in the OP, another recent study showed that people who thought the number of immigrants in the country was too high dropped to less than half when they found out how high the number really was. They'd overestimated the number in the country. The average estimation of how many there were was three times the real figure.

Arguing with the electorate is something that must be done when they're misinformed.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Oh, and thanks Anonymous. That poll has provided me with material for another post.

Unknown said...

It's nice to know "Paul" is still hanging around.

However, it's disappointing to see that he seems unwilling to engage in a proper debate, preferring instead to pepper anonymous comments around the place.