It does according to the Daily Telegraph, who are just as capable of repeating BNP immigration myths while simultaneously distancing themselves from the extremists.
In a piece entitled 'Telegraph View' (I believe it's the leader column) published on Friday, there appears this line:
The white working class who live there are resentful of the way the benefits system is skewed towards immigrant families: the long tail of this recession could whip up yet more support for the BNP, despite its leader's feeble performance on Question Time.
Let me just run that past you again:
The white working class who live there are resentful of the way the benefits system is skewed towards immigrant families
Not 'appears to be' but 'is'. No evidence to back that assertion up. It just is. Skewed.
Now I know this is an opinion piece and as a piece of polemic is representing a particular point of view rather than an objective look at the facts. That's fine by me. But how is the benefit system "skewed towards immigrant families"?
The myths of queue-jumping have been exploded very clearly, time and time again. For example, one national newspaper in July this year covered a story which was headlined
Immigrants do not get housing priority, study shows
which had this quote:
The far-right [BNP] spread rumours in target seats that immigrants were given precedence in the queue for social housing accommodation.
Does that sound a bit like
the benefits system is skewed towards immigrant families
to you? Because it does to me. Still, the newspaper (which you have by now correctly identified as the Daily Telegraph) carried on:
The IPPR found no evidence of queue jumping or abuse of the system by immigrants but warned that those perceptions were widespread in certain areas.
Yes, I wonder which nasty types have been creating such perceptions? I imagine the kind of people who would say that the benefits system favours migrants - people like the Daily Telegraph, in its leader column - the column which "is the opinion of the Daily Telegraph".
Does the system favour migrants? Well, a look back through the Telegraph's very own archive yields this article, which states quite clearly:
A policy that stops Eastern European migrant workers accessing most benefits for at least a year is to remain in place amid fears lifting the restriction will increase unemployment among Britons.
The continued existence of the worker registration scheme for European migrants would appear to suggest that, far from actively favouring migrants, the benefit system is actively skewed against them.
How you get from that to saying the system is skewed in favour of migrants I'm not too sure. But it's nice to know it's not just the tabloids who are capable of mixing it with BNP-style rhetoric while at the same time pointing at Griffin and saying: "Ooh, look at the bad man".
Spotter's badge: Malcolm Coles