Tuesday 21 July 2009

Mail misrepresents health story to create anti-asylum scare

Failed asylum seekers will get free NHS care in U-turn to protect human rights that 'could attract 1m' says the Mail.

Notice that none of these people need NHS care because they might be sick. It's because of their human rights. It's like a Littlejohn wet dream.

But the key thing about the way the Mail has presented the story is - once again - about the numbers. The headline implies a million failed asylum seekers will be joining those Gypsies in the dcotor's queue ahead of you.

Surprisingly, this is not a story by either James Slack or Steve Doughty, but Daniel Martin. His grasp of the issues are equally terrible however.

'NHS treatment will be available for tens of thousands of failed asylum seekers', the story begins.

'The decision increases the numbers potentially able to use the NHS by tens of thousands', it repeats three sentences later, just in case you aren't outraged enough yet.

And then, just when you were wondering where that headline figure of a million came from (as if you needed telling):

the campaign group MigrationWatch believes it could open the floodgates to 'up to a million' illegal immigrants.

Never saw that one coming, did you?

Neither the Mail, nor the Migrationwatch website appears to explain on what evidence this 'million' figure is based, but coming from them, it's probably just plucked out of the air.

Anyway, the Mail goes on to say:

'There are understood to be around 450,000 failed asylum seekers who have not left the country'.

This is an old canard that the Mail (and Express) keep using and which is not correct. This is the figure for the so-called legacy cases (except they aren't all cases, they aren't all failed asylum seekers, because their cases haven't been resolved, and those that now have have been rejected by factor of 2:1).

But the implication is that that is another possible figure for the numbers of failed asylum seekers about the get free NHS treatment.

That is, if it's not a million.

Or tens of thousands.

In fact, the Mail then reveals: 'only 10 or 20,000 are directly affected by the new rules'.

Oh. That's not quite what had been implied earlier - especially as they won't all be sick or need treatment. A quick look at the NHS website reveals what the plans actually are:

asylum seekers whose claim has been refused but who are being supported because there are recognised barriers to their return home should be exempt from charges

Which is odd because the way Mail reported it, it sounded like all failed asylum seekers were getting free NHS care. In fact, it's a very specific group, and a very limited group.

And, perhaps most important of all, within that very specific and limited group, it's people who are sick. But apparently, the Mail doesn't think that matters one bit.


  1. Ecxellent stuff, as always. Makes you tempted to create a spoof Press Release from MigrationWatch with crazy bollocks on it to see if it gets printed.

  2. I'm more amazed it wasn't by the usual suspects! Great post.
    There was a recent email to local radio quoting the 'respected and independent' Migrationwatch. Smelt a rat. Found the entire email was lifted from BNP.Org as it referred to 'Sir Green' rather than Andrew. These people don't even read their cut and paste jobs.
    Almost as bad as calling the Taxpayers alliance independent.


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