Monday 19 October 2009

Mail and Sunday Telegraph: cat-alysts for more anti-immigration feeling

Yesterday's Sunday Telegraph story Immigrant allowed to stay because of pet cat, has turned up in the Mail today as Migrant facing deportation wins right to stay in Britain... because he's got a cat.

Both articles make clear the cat was

one detail among many.

So how come the 'many' other details are not the focus of these articles?

Because both papers have an agenda to make the immigration system seem ridiculous and worthless, and to make immigrants appear engaged in any trick they can dream up in order to be allowed to stay.

It wouldn't take a genius to work out that those headlines may not be the whole story, and a look at the forty-plus comments left on the Mail website at time of writing rather proves the point.

One, claiming to be from the 'EUSSR' (see what he did there?) says:

Is it any wonder the UK is currently the laughing stock of the entire world?

You could not make it up.

Oh. Littlejohn quotes? Really?

However, it must be added that the Mail have only told half the facts, so it is perhaps small wonder the readers who are always ready to jump on any anti-immigration story pile in. The paper stops copy-and-pasting from the Sunday Telegraph article just around the point where the truth of the case comes out. Why would they do that?

Disgracefully, the Sunday Telegraph pushes in this paragraph:

The case comes a week after The Sunday Telegraph disclosed how the same court had given permission for more than 50 foreign criminals, including killers and sex offenders, to avoid deportation because of human rights concerns.

It has nothing to do with the case at hand, but serves to link immigrants with criminals, again.

But back to the 'cat' and the Mail states categorically:

An illegal immigrant was allowed to stay in Britain because he had a cat

The Mail has gone from 'migrant' in the headline to 'illegal immigrant' in the second line of the story. The Sunday Telegraph doesn't use 'illegal immigrant' at all, referring to him as 'immigrant' throughout.

But the Mail have made it clear - it's all because of that cat:

The unnamed Bolivian was spared deportation after he told a court that he and his girlfriend had bought the animal as a pet.

The Mail goes on to quote the disgust of Damien Green and Migrationwatch's Andrew Green. Hold on, what was that about Littlejohn quotes? Here's Andrew Green:

Drawing pets into the consideration of issues of such importance is so utterly absurd that you could not make it up.

Oh dear. (Incidentally, this is just the type of story Littlejohn is likely to cover in his column tomorrow...)

The Mail also quotes from the Bolivian man's lawyer, but not these crucial statements, included in the Sunday Telegraph:

Mr O'Leary [the couple's lawyer] added that his client originally brought the case because he should have benefited from a Home Office policy on unmarried partners which gives credit to couples who have been together more than two years. The Bolivian had been with his partner for four years, he said.

How convenient the Mail forgot to include that bit. And this bit:

"It was made clear by the initial judge and then by Senior Immigration Judge Gleeson that the appellant should benefit from that policy and be granted the right to remain," he said.

"Furthermore, it was accepted by the Home Office representative at the hearing before Judge Gleeson that the policy should apply and any other errors in the initial decision by the judge, including too much detail on the cat, were immaterial."

And this bit:

He added: "This case was won because the Home Office had a policy which they did not initially apply but later, through their representative, they accepted should have been applied."

A spokesman from the Judicial Communications Office said: "This was a case in which the Home Office conceded that they had mistakenly failed to apply their own policy for dealing with unmarried partners of people settled in the UK."

So the actual story is the Home Office had a policy which it didn't adhere too.

Moreover, the 'too much detail' on that cat was 'immaterial' and accepted as much by the Home Office.

So how does that become 'immigrant stays because of cat'?


  1. I've just posted a comment on this rubbish as follows:-

    Try reading the piece in the Sunday Telegraph (where this 'story' was pinched from) and you'll get the full picture. The man had been with his girlfriend for 4 years which was why he was allowed to stay. The bit about the cat was immaterial. The Home Office admitted that they'd applied the rules incorrectly (about partners being allowed to stay if they'd been together for 2 years or more). But hey, another day, another misleading immigration story. And you wonder why people turn to the BNP with this sort of rubbish?

    Let's see how much gets through shall we? My money's on the final 2 sentences being 'accidentally' deleted.

  2. And of course the BNP has picked up on this describing Bolivia as 'far off' so its members don't have to look at an atlas for foreignland.

  3. Well, it hasn't made it up yet. But loads of comments have virtually all of which take the story for granted and quite a few have 'more votes for the BNP' attached.

    And the Mail wonder why the BNP gain support? I hate the Mail with a vengeance. Do they not think about the impact of so many slanted/distorted/just plain wrong stories? Don't bother answering that one...

  4. Dear Tabloid Watch,

    Thank you for your comments. You have made me feel sane in a day when insanity has ruled.
    I am the lawyer quoted in this article. I was contacted by the Sunday Telegraph last week who had found this case on the Immigration Tribunal website. I explained clearly that the cat was irrelevant and, learning from experience, followed up with written comments as to why the case was won.
    The Home Office conceded this case - they were not 'aghast', they accepted they had not applied their own policy and the cat was immaterial. As you have shown, the Telegraph begrudgingly explained this in the article but added a completely misleading headline. Of course, it was then picked up by all and reportedly completely inaccurately.
    The sad fact is that it is now on the BNP website and people will believe it.
    Where do I go from here? I agreed to an interview with a national radio station to try to get the message out but they lost interest when I explained the facts. I called Damian Green's office. they will 'send me a letter'.
    The Telegraph were unfair but accurate on my quotes. Other sites have made up quotes.
    I have been here many times as I have being doing immigration law for a long time but still do not have the answer to how to deal with this. Let it die a natural death? What do others suggest?
    Once again, thank you reading what I said fully. I was starting to wonder if I had said something completely different.
    Barry O'Leary

  5. Barry - I have blogged about your comment here, as the cat lie is repeated again:

    Hope the advice helps. If you wish to email me personally address is on the right

  6. what alot of politics iv started a page up on face book BRING ROMMIE BACK . Ye belive it or not hes a man who has got A WIFE and SON yes u heared it a human being and he cant come and live as a family with his wife and be a father to his son. They been together six years and married to and yes he was ilegal but they went off to india and got wed. and two years on after the DC and on ther 4th apeal get them no where. But got to add this as sad as it is that a boy not 3 yet comes to me his grandmother and says come quick nanna grabs my hand rushes me outside and says thats daddys plane . I have to say to him no baby hes on the next on. From this i have my daughter crying herself to sleep cuddled up to her son praying tommorow will be good news where is the justic and goverment to help there. im here reading coments about a cat and my grandson got a voice and he deserves to be heard

  7. i have a 2 year old boy neally 3 next month,i have been with my partner neally 6 years married partner he is indian and is stuck in his country we have fighted for so long. 2 years hes has been out there me and our son havent seen my husband for 10 months that is so sad.i have appealed and went to court for him to return to uk with me and baby to live as a family we got refused.not once,twice not three times naw it is our fourth time it is breaking my heart living with out still fighting to this day i dont care how long it will take us but i know we will get there in the end.but as for the cat story chooseing a life of a cat to a human really makes me SICK, me and my husband love each other and we love and worship our son, and to see my son with out his daddy its terrible its like living a nightmare you cant wake from. just by seeing that story of the cat what do you expect, im bound to be angry,i love animails but gosh my son is human so is my husband and i.if you choose and animal life over a human life theres something wrong, whats wrong with the goverment today .

  8. err...i think you've missed the point a bit - ITS NOT ABOUT THE CAT!

  9. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the "mother who cares" comment. Looks like organisations like the BNP are winning this fight in certain places...

  10. I'm a little confused because Barry O'Leary says here that the cat was "irrelevant" but he also says the Telegraph quoted him accurately, and the Telegraph claims he said the cat was indeed presented as evidence of the life this couple had built together in the UK to show the genuine nature and duration of their relationship, and accepted assuch by the judge who ruled on the appeal.

    MacGuffin is quite right though to point out that both stories make it clear the cat was only part of the evidence put forward to demonstrate the couple had built a life together in the UK.

  11. cat-gate
    they realy missed a trick here they shold have called the thing "cat-flap"

    apart for that I have nothing more to add to a greate article


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Comments are moderated - generally to filter out spam and comments wishing death on people - but other messages will be approved as quickly as possible.