Tuesday 15 June 2010

Star lies about results of refugee poll

A remarkable article in yesterday's Mail managed to discuss asylum seekers and refugees without being snide or negative.

A poll by Refugee Action - to mark Refugee Week - showed:

Asylum seekers find most British people polite, welcoming and obsessed with football, according to a survey out today.

And the best things about living in the UK are not only the friendly locals and our national sport, but also British TV, the poll found.

X-Factor, EastEnders and news bulletins were the top three TV programmes favoured by refugees and asylum seekers.

The Mail even included the definitions of asylum seeker and refugee - terms that, along with illegal immigrant, it usually uses so interchangeably.

The article says:

More than half said they either strongly agreed or tended to agree that the average British person welcomed refugees to the UK.

Fortunately, the Mail hasn't allowed any comments on the article to disprove that...

The same poll was given a rather more typical tabloid treatment by the Daily Star. The headline, for once, wasn't far off when it said 'Refugees love British TV and the Royal Family'.

But Emma Wall's article begins with an outright deception:

Asylum seekers are flocking to Britain because they love X Factor, the Queen and state handouts.

This is totally wrong for two reasons.

One is that the poll never asked why asylum seekers come to the UK but what they most liked about Britain now they are here. 'Flocking to Britain because...' simply can not be said, based on these results.

Secondly, there's no mention of state handouts anywhere in the poll.

Indeed, two sentences later, Wall admits it says no such thing:

A poll for a refugee charity found they also like living here because of our national passion for football.

But critics reckon the real reason is actually the fact they are cleaning up thanks to our generous benefits system.

It is sad that this Star hack thinks that a weekly income 30% below the poverty line is 'generous', but that's probably because she's ignorant about the facts.

And 'critics', eh? And one guess as to who those 'critics' are:

But the survey has been blasted for hiding the real reason they love Britain.

Matthew Elliott, from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s undeniable some are here for the money and not our culture.”

It's not clear who this 'some' are.

But BBC journalist Paul Kenyon and recent Refugee Council research both said, the vast majority of asylum seekers had no knowledge of welfare benefits and support before coming to the UK.

It's also not clear why the Star felt it necessary to get a comment from the tedious rent-a-quote bores at the TPA about these results, apart from the fact they obviously felt they couldn't run a positive (or even neutral) immigration story.

Refugee Action has produced a poll revealing what refugees and asylum seekers like about the culture, society and people of Britain.

But that isn't good enough for the nasty, racist Star. They have to turn it into yet another misleading article about benefit-scrounging foreigners 'flocking' to the UK for the 'handouts'.


  1. So... when immigrants turn their noses up at British culture, that's bad, but when they enjoy it, that's ... also bad? I suppose we can applaud the Star for making their position so crystal clear...

  2. Excellent piece as always, McG. Living in the US, it's not hard to see those with racist intentions, though they simply don't make it as clear as UK journalists. It's only more impetus for young starters like myself to avoid these people at all costs... it's clear that Emma Wall has sold out. That is to say, if she had integrity in the first place.

  3. Great to see a positive DM article for once - it's actually made my morning. I do like the Star's take on it though, if we put aside the potential damage it could cause, simply for its comedy value - "flocking" here because they love the Queen and the X-factor: nothing to do with escaping warzones and oppressive regimes then... In the words of a well-known Dick, "you couldn't make it up".

  4. Do you know why this DM article isn't full of lies and bile? Because it is written by "DAILY MAIL REPORTER" which basically means the Press Association. The same article appears in the Independent, with the full PA attribution:


    So unfortunately, this isn't a change of heart for the Mail, rather a cheap way to plug a hole on a slow news day.

    Still, I suppose we can at least be pleased that they published it at all.

  5. I've been reading this blog for a while now, and i've just started reading Angry Mob and 5CC, so i was starting to believe that nothing these rags print could shock me anymore. I was clearly wrong.


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