I see that Poles are back again on top of the tabloid hate pyramid. It's been a while since the Mail and Express decided that demonising our friends in Eastern Europe was a good idea, but all of a sudden, it's started again. Things had gone quiet, but we're back to the spectral Poles, coming over here and draining our benefits.
I noticed down the side of yesterday's Express front page (in which Princess Diana also made a welcome return) some guff about "You can only have a job if you're Polish", which must have garnered plenty of attention - probably traffic from Stormfront and BNP forums, the core demographic - because the Poles are right back on the front page again today:
In all the excitement about NOW POLES GET FREE ABORTIONS ON NHS, it's possible to imagine that this will be a story that launches a thorough investigation into what's going on, the reasons behind it, and so on. But don't worry if you thought that was going to happen. This isn't about what could have been an interesting story regarding women from the former A8 European nations flying to Britain to have abortions because their home countries won't allow it - a practice which has gone on for quite a few years with women from Ireland. Never mind that shit! Here comes the scare!
POSTERS advising Polish women to fly to Britain for free abortions on the NHS sparked outrage yesterday.
The advert – which borrows tastelessly from a famous “Priceless” credit card campaign – is promoted by a Polish feminist group. It was condemned last night for encouraging “abortion tourism”, and piling pressure on the hard-pressed NHS.
They urge women to take advantage of EU rules allowing Poles free medical care in the UK.
And it tells them it is cheaper to fly to the UK to end an unwanted pregnancy than to pay for an illegal backstreet termination in Poland.
It's a bit pathetic really. Instead of a story showing that women are coming from Poland to the UK for abortions because of the cheap air fares - which I don't doubt probably goes on - the only evidence is a poster from a Polish feminist group. As well as that you've got a 'critics' and a 'source' coming up, plus a MigrationWatch quote - which in my book counts as no sources of any real quality troubling the scorers and stacking up this story.
Critics warn that Britain is at risk of becoming the abortion capital of Europe.
Where's the evidence to back that up? Oh, there isn't anything, no quote from anyone. So who are the critics who said this? It's probably wrong in some way for me to suppose that the reporter did a frantic ring-around of the most anti-abortion rent-a-gobs they could find, and couldn't get someone to say that, but put it in the story anyway. Probably very wrong of me to suspect that. But I'd be grateful if you did bear in mind, whenever anyone tells you that the difference between blogging and real journalism is that journalists have to use sources and stand up everything they say, that it's total shit.
A Polish source said yesterday that thousands of Polish women already flee the strict Roman Catholic country’s anti-abortion laws every year to undergo the procedure on the NHS.
Who's this Polish source then? Again, it would probably be wrong of me, for some reason, to think that there either isn't one, or it's just some anecdotal evidence from someone the reporter has spoken to, rather than anyone who actually knows what's going on or who has any evidence. Again, as I said, I don't doubt this goes on; but that's not the same as being able to stand it up using facts and stuff rather than "a Polish source".
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of think tank MigrationWatch, said: “We should insist the Polish government take action to have these posters removed.” He said the NHS was in danger of becoming an “international health service” and called for NHS clinics to make sure that those who turn up for free treatment are entitled to it.
You may remember from the other day that in my book MigrationWatch is a wanktank, not a thinktank, as the word thinktank not only implies that some thinking actually goes on, but also lends a sliver of credence to the views of these people that makes them out to be more than just a pressure group complaining about every single immigration issue that ever gets raised. Which is fine, and don't get me wrong, there's a place for that. But please. Pressure group, not 'thinktank'. Let's be honest about this.
Also, that quote from Sir Andrew is a good reminder of the kind of people you're dealing with. Here's someone who wants state intervention to prevent free speech from a group of feminists in Poland. I'm sure if a Polish 'thinktank' demanded that Sir Andrew be prevented from communicating his anti-immigration rubbish in Britain, he'd be equally delighted. No, you say...?
It's sad to see Poles back in the newspapers like this. I had kind of hoped that the demonisation of them, and other Europeans, might have come to something of a halt of late. But no. Whether this new injection of suspicion is anything to do with the coming election, I don't know, but I wouldn't fall off my chair if it was. Still, when you have 'critics' and 'sources' and MigrationWatch to help you, you can pretty much create a story out of thin air. So there will be more... there will be more.