Monday, 22 February 2010

If the cap fits...

The Express' latest not-quite-true front page is this:

Who is this 'we'?

Among the very many offensive things the Express has ever written, suggesting 'we' all agree with them on immigration is right up there.

If, however, the 'we' is the Express, then maybe 'Labour' would have a point. If they'd said any such thing. But they haven't. Indeed, they specifically avoided saying it.

The paper illustrates the article with a picture of some women in niqabs because that's the impression the Express wants to give about immigration.

The story is back to the so-called immigration plot and the draft (and all this stuff was only in the draft) document that has resulted in so much coverage. None of this actually made it through to the final version.

As Anton has said in his post on this front page:

you could say it wasn't included because it's a big secret, and it was all a massive plot by Labour. Or you could say it wasn't included because it was rejected. Which one do you think the Mail and Express have gone for?

The Mail had already had this as the lead on its website for a long time on Monday. It also came under a misleading headline - which has already been changed once (Secret Labour plan to increase immigration said public's opposition was 'racist').

Back in the Express, Macer Hall - responsible for that euro nonsense two weeks ago - lays on the hyperbole:

Labour dismissed the British public’s widespread opposition to mass immigration as 'racism'...

But ministers were urged to ignore voters' 'racist' views...

But demonstrating thinly disguised contempt for much of the British public, the document said that this opposition was linked to racist attitudes.

So what did the draft document actually say? From the Mail:

'Recent research shows that anti-immigrant sentiment is closely correlated with racism rather than economic motives,' the authors wrote.

'Education and people's personal exposure to migrants make them less likely to be anti-migrant.

'The most negative attitudes are found among those who have relatively little direct contact with migrants, but see them as a threat.'

Which is not 'Labour' calling everyone a racist. It is the authors - possibly civil servants - quoting 'research' which suggests there is a link between anti-immigrant views and racism. But it does not say everyone who expresses a concern about immigration is a racist.

As the Express claims on the front page.

And look again at that last sentence:

'The most negative attitudes are found among those who have relatively little direct contact with migrants, but see them as a threat.'

Here's what Express Editor Peter Hill told a Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights in January 2007, when asked if he has personally met any asylum seekers:

'I have not. I have met representatives of the Romanian Government on a similar and associated topic but I have not met any asylum seekers - or I do not think so.'

Given the anti-immigration scaremongering the Express regularly pumps out, Hill's words would seem to prove the draft report was right on that point.

And you have to wonder how a life-long journalist in his early 60s (as he was then) had never met an asylum seeker in his life, and yet believes they deserve the coverage his paper gives them.

By a strange coincidence, Migrationwatch's Andrew Green once said there were no immigrants in the village where he lived, although unsurprisingly, coming from him, this wasn't quite accurate.

And if the Express wants to get outraged about drafts that weren't actually used, perhaps they could remind their readers about the 'Daily Fatwa' page that sister paper the Daily Star were planning to run a few years back.

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