It's been lost in the mists of time, but a hard-right meme at the time of Jean Charles de Menezes's brutal assassination went as follows: of course, if he hadn't been in this country as a filthy dirty stinking immigrant, then he wouldn't have been shot seven times in the head by stupid Guns & Ammo Plods with raging hard-ons for Chuck Norris films - so actually, it was his own fault. Naturally it was picked up (or it may even have been started, credit where it's due) by Richard Littlejohn and fanned out among the hard-right.
I wonder, then, why Littlejohn and his mates didn't make the same assertions about the two French students who were tortured and murdered by a couple of drug-grazed nutjobs who were put in prison for the rest of their lives yesterday. Why were there no sneering articles about them? It's a bit strange, isn't it? And then you look at the front page of today's Mail and you see this, and you think - are you actually having a laugh?
God look, there's his smelly face looking down at the headline as well. Why isn't his chirpy column going on about how these students shouldn't have been here anyway because they were immigrants, and how they were actually therefore responsible for their own deaths? What's the difference between them and de Menezes?
Not that I'm disagreeing with the Mail, of course. It's refreshing to see that immigrants are regarded as 'our guests' when they're victims of crime - just a bit of a pity that the same courtesy doesn't extend to all immigrants, who are generally painted as being money-grabbing benefits-syphoning bastards coming over here, taking our jobs, committing all sorts of crimes and generally ruining everything for the indigenous (do you hear that dog-whistle, people?) population.
Because, if these two students had not been so tragically murdered, they would have been lumped in with the statistics in a James Slack immigration story in the Mail - they would have counted in the numbers in what would have been described as a 'wave of mass immigration'.
We've seen before how there's such a thing as the right kind of immigrant - the equivalent of 'good AIDS' for the Mail. We've seen this kind of thing before, with immigrants portrayed sympathetically - though they must be the right kind, you understand.
And let's not forget the Mail's hilarious attitudes towards the French. Can you remember this? Yes, some real rib-ticklers there out of the Ark about why the French always surrender, tee hee. But let's forget about that for the purposes of this story.
I think on this occasion it's just a question of priorities. Yes, the Mail might not be massive fans of the French, or immigrants, or indeed even students, but that's not the point. As we've seen before so many times, the Mail's moral compass whizzes around till it finds the right place to stop. So there will be no articles portraying these immigrants as horrible spongers (not that they were, of course) and no snide asides from Littlejohn saying if they weren't here then they couldn't have been killed. No, this is all about Broken Britain and how it was all the Government's fault that this crime happened. And if, in order to present that story, you need to be sympathetic towards immigrants, then so be it.
Of course I'd like to think that this story marks a sea-change in the Mail's attitude towards immigration and that in future all immigrants from overseas will be seen as 'our guests'.
But I doubt it.
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