More lies and misinformation in the war for votes in the forthcoming EU referendum. UKIP-supporting tabloid The Daily Express has stayed true to form with a fabricated leading article on its website.

Under the headline BRUSSELS SHOCK: EU PLOTS TAX ON BRITISH SHOPPERS… TO FUND BENEFITS FOR OVERSEAS JOBLESS, the paper works itself up into a froth over reported plans by ‘barmy Brussels bureaucrats‘ to ‘milk Britain’s growing economy‘ with a VAT-style tax to fund an EU-wide unemployment benefit scheme.

The plan would mean British shoppers shelling out millions more at the tills every year to pay for benefits and job creation schemes in countries with high unemployment rates‘, it reports.

However, the scheme, which was discussed at an EU employment committee meeting in Brussels, doesn’t even involve Britain. It is planned for countries within the Eurozone, which has seen growing unemployment since the 2008 financial crisis.

EU countries that don’t use the Euro, such as Britain, would have a chance to join the scheme at a later date but it would be optional.

Unveiling the plan at the meeting, the Italian finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan (pictured above) said ‘If a country doesn’t want to be part of this scheme then it won’t wish to make contributions nor of course will it reap benefits.’

The Express article mentions this but it buries the information beneath paragraphs of propaganda designed to make readers feel as if they’re doomed to be ripped off if Britain remains in the EU. It’s a tactic that newspapers seem to be using more and more frequently – ‘fact burying‘ – no doubt aware that the headline and opening couple of paragraphs will be what sticks in people’s minds.

With at least several months until the nation votes on its future with the EU, there could be a lot more fighting dirty ahead.

Original Daily Express article available here.




So you’re a UKIP MEP and you want to turn what is essentially a non-story into a bit of anti-EU spin. Who do you call?

Well, The Daily Express, obviously.

This is exactly what the party’s defence spokesman Mike Hookem (pictured) did last week. His reward was an article in the UKIP-supporting tabloid where he was given a platform to make ludicrously inflated accusations that the EU were trying to censor him and shut down debate.

Mr Hookem, MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, had submitted a question to the European Commission about the safety of British lorry drivers in Calais. However, he made some rather exaggerated claims in his written question such as suggesting that all migrants trying to make their way into the UK are using violent measures.

He was asked to redraft his question ahead of submission as it contained ‘language that could be considered as offensive.’ He was also told that parts of his question were ‘not easy to understand‘.

Instead of getting on with the job and tweaking the question, Mr Hookem contacted the Express to concoct a story about Eurocrats denying him his democratic rights.


The article went on to make false claims that the question had been dismissed by ‘Brussels bureaucrats‘ before quoting Mr Hookem who accused the ‘PC brigade‘ of ‘trying to shut down debate‘.

It’s not for unelected eurocrats to decide what is and isn’t allowed to be debated when it comes to the truth‘, he complained. ‘Censorship is truly offensive.’

It is not sure whether Mr Hookem subsequently redrafted his question and submitted it or whether he is still whingeing about being hard-done-by to any fool who cares to listen.

Original article in The Daily Express available here.



On Friday, The Daily Mail published an article headlined HOW LABOUR TURNED LONDON INTO A FOREIGN CITY. Subtitled ‘Fewer than half the capital’s population are white British, gangsters from Somalia terrorise the suburbs and even the tramps are immigrants, reveals astonishing new book‘, the feature article is a textbook example of the tabloid’s propensity to misinform, scaremonger and erroneously stick the boot into those on the left.

The article is based on a book, about to be released, by Ben Judah, called This Is London: life and death in the world city. The book looks at modern immigration to London, based on first-hand stories gathered by Judah who spent time immersing himself with different groups in order to try and get an accurate picture of their experiences.

The book is yet to be released so I haven’t read it yet, although a pretty decent review of it is available here. However, the article it inspired, written by researcher Harriet Sargeant, is so slanted and full of flimsy analysis that it could pass as a piece of UKIP propaganda.

Ms Sargeant uses the book as a cover to launch an attack on the Labour Party (and also the left in general and the EU), as well as paying lip-service to the dubious theory beloved of the far-right that the White British population is somehow under threat. All in all, standard Daily Mail stuff and as usual the arguments don’t stack up.

A key problem is that Ms Sargeant uses the stories in the book as evidence of failing government immigration policy, yet the book isn’t even about those the government have let in. Most of the stories are of those who arrived and stayed through unofficial channels – the undocumented or ‘illegal‘ migrants who often arrive via traffickers and end up in employment and accommodation beneath the radar of the state.

The problem of undocumented/’illegal‘ migration is a genuine one, not least because of the risks to the migrants who often end up living in dreadful conditions (see the Migrants Resource Centre report Hope Costs Nothing for an illuminating insight into experiences of undocumented migrants in the UK).

But it’s separate from government immigration policy. Tightening or relaxing border controls is not gonna impact greatly on people getting in illegally, and there has always been an ‘underclass‘ of migrants doing informal labour for as long as there have been migrant communities in the country. Whether you like this or hate it, it doesn’t have an affect on your life in terms of housing, employment, etc. as they have no recourse to public services.

Failing to distinguish between official and unofficial migrants is one of the most basic errors people make, leading them to make silly statements like ‘illegal immigrants are getting all the council housing.’ You might expect a newspaper journalist to be a level above that sort of thing. But Ms Sargeant – whose main qualification in this field seems to be carrying out immigration research for the Daily Mail – mixes up the two throughout her report.

So we get a thoroughly skewed picture of things as the desperate stories that feature in the book, embedded in ‘Third World Poverty, exploitation and criminality‘, are presented as the norm for immigrants to the capital as a whole.

We also get rubbish like stories of hardships of undocumented migrants being ‘the result of Labour relaxing immigration to the UK‘ and nonsense that immigration policy is ‘dictated by criminal gangs‘. According to Sargeant, those exploited by traffickers bringing people in through unofficial means are victims not of a harsh unregulated black economy but of the failure of multiculturalism. In her distorted view of reality, migrants to Britain are lured here by ‘offers of free housing, free schooling and countless welfare benefits‘ yet seemingly have no access to official jobs (‘minimum wage is a luxury they can only dream about.’)

This sub-amateur analysis is designed to appeal to the right-wing anti-EU mindset of the average Daily Mail reader. The desperate stories of the migrants are blamed on Labour policies (although all of the stories featured in the book are from the Tory/Coalition period) and liberal-left multicultural agendas, and the only way out is to exit the EU and reclaim control of our borders.

But again, this article is totally wrong-headed. Contrary to popular belief, Labour did not ‘open the door‘ to the world’s population. It was relatively open to EU countries but to non-EU migrants it tightened controls more than any previous government. In 13 years in power, Labour passed 8 immigration acts through parliament, far more than any other administration. The fact that people think Labour had some sort of open door policy proves the old saying ‘if you repeat a lie often enough, people believe it’s the truth.’

We get the same lies repeated here. ‘Uncontrolled immigration has changed London forever.’ If there was uncontrolled immigration, there would be no such thing as illegal immigrants, surely? And how exactly will leaving the EU stop illegal immigration and put a stop to the sort of exploitation and hardship featured in this book?

A final more troubling problem with the article is the implication that immigration presents some sort of threat to the declining white British population in the capital – evident in the article’s title. It’s something that’s featured a lot recently with the likes of nationalist groups such as Britain First, who are fond of claiming that immigration and multiculturalism represent a ‘white genocide‘.

Sargeant uses a similar language a couple of times in this article and it’s worrying that it is appearing in a mainstream tabloid newspaper. She alludes to multiculturalism and the declining percentage of White British in the capital as ‘racial cleansing‘ and refers to non-whites as ‘not ethnically British‘.

Sargeant quotes one paragraph from the book where Judah deals with the subject of changing demographics in the capital but I’m not sure how much of a deal he makes of it in the whole book.

But it makes up a substantial part of the article. Statistics are cherry-picked (boroughs experiencing the greatest levels of change are highlighted) and peppered with quotes and anecdotal evidence, all of which will no doubt have many readers quaking in their boots that they’re gonna wake up one day and be a ‘minority‘ in their own country.

A couple of points on this: first, let’s have a sober look at a few statistics. According to the 2011 Census, 45% of Londoners are white British (60% white altogether). Some might say that constitutes a minority, but White Brits are still by far the largest single group in the capital. No other group represents over 10%. So they are still by far a majority, unless you lump everyone else together as one homogenous ‘other‘ group, and what would be the point of that unless you’re racist?

37% of Londoners are foreign-born. It has the second highest percentage of foreigners in the world, behind New York City. Because New York City and London are successful, powerful, global cities and global cities tend to have large numbers of foreigners. Always have. Go check it out.

But ethnicity is a meaningless indicator really, isn’t it? What does it matter what colour someone is or where they’re from? Surely a more important indicator is language, because if you were in a city where fewer than half the people spoke your language, you might well feel like a foreigner. Well the good news here is that 78% of the capital speak English as their first language, with a further 20% able to speak it fluently enough as a second language.

And just in case you were worrying that London might be experiencing too much immigration to cope with the sheer number of people, the total population of the capital has only recently returned to pre-war levels of 8 million inhabitants so it should be able to cope just fine.

Onto the second general point: who really gives a damn? I’m a white British male living in Lambeth, where the percentage of white Brits is less that 50%, and it doesn’t affect me one bit. I don’t care what ethnicity, nationality or religion the people in my neighbourhood are as long as they are nice people and I am able to get on with my life and do the things I want and have access to local facilities that are suitable for me – they are, I am, I can and I have.

The truth is that over time, due to declining birth rates, the percentage of White British people will slowly shrink, as eventually will all ethnically distinct groups in economically advanced nations and we will likely reach a point in the future where pretty much everyone can only identify as mixed race. The best thing we can all do is stop fretting about ethnicity and see this as a positive thing that could potentially eliminate racism from society.

One final point: none of this tabloid narrative is new. It’s the same story every generation for over 100 years. If anything, it was worse a century ago with alarmingly regular stories in national tabloids and London evening papers about how Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe was changing the capital beyond recognition. The Jewish refugees were demonised as aliens and blamed for crime, disease and radical left-wing terror.

One of the papers repeatedly portraying these refugees in a negative light was The Daily Mail. They may write sensationalist stories about the transformation of society, but the truth is some things never change.

Link to original Daily Mail article can be found here.


The UKIP-supporting tabloid The Daily Express has been trying to stir up anxiety among its readership over the New Years Eve sex attacks in Germany.

Under the alarming headline NOW BRITAIN FACES MIGRANT SEX ATTACKS AFTER SURGE OF EUROPEAN ASSAULTS, WARNS TOP EXPERT, published on Saturday, the paper goes on to report that Britain ‘is facing imminent migrant sex attacks‘ according to security expert Professor Anthony Glees.

But the information in the headline and opening paragraph greatly exaggerates what is actually said.

Professor Glees, who is the director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at Buckingham University, is actually quoted as saying ‘there is no immediate threat to us in the UK.

He goes on to express concern about lack of screening of asylum-seekers elsewhere in Europe who could then travel to Britain ‘after a few years‘ due to EU regulations. But nowhere in the article does he say that Britain faces experiencing what happened in Cologne and elsewhere, either imminently or later down the line.

The article, rather than being a useful piece of news reporting, exists purely to spread fear of asylum-seekers as well as to push the paper’s own anti-EU agenda.

It is also an exercise in one-sided reporting. Professor Glees may well be a ‘top expert‘ as the headline bellows, but his is the only opinion sought in the article. It would also appear that Prof. Glees is something of a go-to academic for right-wing tabloids, having recently called Germany a ‘hippie state‘ and written a piece in the Daily Mail criticising the ‘liberal elite‘.

Obviously this is a tabloid news article and not peer-reviewed social research, but to gather information from just the one source most likely to confirm your preconceptions and then exaggerate on what is said is not good journalistic practice.

But in the world of tabloid newspapers, accurately reporting the news comes secondary to selling newspapers and influencing public opinion and there are a range of methods that all these publications use – among them sensationalism, demonisation of certain groups or individuals, and creating a climate of fear.

Spreading fear is the forte of the Daily Express, whose readers must be masochists who enjoy being told day after day about the terrible things that lie in wait for them. For a supposed newspaper, a lot of what the Express writes is speculation on what will happen rather than reporting on what has happened or is happening (as with the article discussed here).

This gives them more scope to ramp up the fear factor – deadly disease on the way, extreme weather coming to bring the country to a standstill, nightmare terror attack around the corner, hordes of migrants on their way to take your jobs and commit crime.

Unsurprisingly for a paper that supports UKIP, The Express is not very keen on immigration. This is what comes up if you type ‘Daily Express immigrants images’ into Google.

express immigrants

Obviously we expect news reports to not shy away from the facts, even when they may be uncomfortable ones, and it’s true that 18 of the 31 New Years Eve attackers are reported to be asylum-seekers of North African and Arabic origin. This has implications for a number of things including the asylum process in EU countries.

But we cannot deal with the situation by targeting all those seeking asylum – or all those from certain countries – or by spreading scare stories which are going to cause unnecessary panic and make things worse. We’ve been here before in the 1970s when tabloids created a similar climate of fear by linking male African-Caribbean immigrants to mugging and street violence, despite actual incidences being much lower than readers were lead to believe.

The irresponsible and inaccurate journalism often found in the Daily Express and its counterparts only serves to heighten fear and prejudice in society. It may be deemed a good ‘business model‘ and suit the proprietors who make a profit out of newspaper sales, but it is of no benefit to society as a whole.

Link to Daily Express article: http://www.donotlink.com/hum7



(Photo: Adam Patterson/Panos/DFID)

The Daily Mail has been up to its usual tricks of trying to get its readers to hate asylum-seekers and refugees by misreporting on a London charity project to help new arrivals to the UK.

The tabloid, which has a long history of negative reporting on immigration – as well as a history that includes supporting fascism and Adolf Hitler – ran a story in December about a project run by the Hillingdon Refugee Support Group, funded by the Big Lottery.

The charity, based in west London, was awarded nearly £400k in March last year for an integration project over a number of years. But although it is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing as a charitable organisation set up to help refugees, it has come under fire from the rightwing tabloid who dismissed the project as ‘jollies paid for with public money.’

But the article, originally published on 19th December 2015, misleads readers as it completely misreports on key elements of the project.

Running with the headline WISH YOU WERE HERE? REFUGEES ARE TAKEN ON £100,000 JOLLIES TO ZOOS, THEME PARKS AND EVEN TO THE BEACH TO HELP THEM ‘INTEGRATE’ INTO BRITISH LIFE… AND GUESS WHO’S PAYING FOR IT ALL, the article goes on to criticise the charity for using ‘public money‘ for outings that one campaigner is quoted as saying makes ‘Britain look more like Butlins.

However, in what is becoming a trademark tactic of the Daily Mail among other newspapers, the full story is buried deep down near the end of the article, away from the provocative and sensationalist headlines.

It emerges that the trips are just a small part of a wider project aimed at integrating young people into life in Britain.

A spokeswoman for the Big Lottery is quoted as saying ‘The majority of the grant money is being used for one-to-one counselling lessons, education and life skills training to help them build their confidence and independence.

So a decent article on the subject might have been to report on the work done by a charity to try and help young refugees make the most of life here and avoid becoming marginalised and disenfranchised. But the Daily Mail being the Daily Mail, it had to find a negative angle and stick to its standard portrayal of asylum-seekers and refugees as a bunch of spongers freeloading at the expense of the taxpayer.

The problem is that, because the article does include the accurate factual information buried away beyond the headlines, the paper is only guilty of misleading readers rather than lying to them outright and thus no charges can be bought against them.

It’s a tactic papers are using more and more frequently to avoid them being forced by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) to print a correction.

Another problem with the article is its repeated use of the term ‘public money‘ which, although it is mentioned that funds are from the Big Lottery, gives the impression that the project is being paid for out of the government’s purse. Lottery money is public money in the sense that the funds do come from the sale of lottery tickets to the public, but it’s classified as charity money, the same as Comic Relief funding.

It’s also only made clear near the end of the article that the project is specifically for young people who have arrived unaccompanied without their families and so are likely to be most in need of support to help them settle into their new environment.

So the Big Lottery has awarded some funding to a refugee charity to run a project that encompasses education, skills-building, confidence-building and counselling for young asylum-seekers who have arrived in a new country without any family, and that project also includes a few trips to fun places to help them enjoy and understand the place that, at least for the time being, they will call home. It doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

It’s a pity that the Daily Mail can’t see beyond their agenda and prejudices to report on it that way.

Link to Daily Mail article: http://www.donotlink.com/hnw8