Today's Express has a familiar ring about it.
Ah, it's the old "LOADS OF NEW JOBS GOING TO MIGRANTS WURRRGH!" story. A classic of its kind, you have to agree. How many is it this time - 92%? That's a bit more than the Express said a couple of years ago, when it was 85%
or a short while before then, when it was ALL?
- AND THEY GO TO THE FRONT OF THE HOUSING QUEUE, chirped the Express, as if the headline bullshit wasn't enough. That was something that was happily picked up by ugly sister paper the Star, who managed to be somehow even more blunt:
Ah, beautiful. Not just migrants taking ALL jobs, but STEALING them.
Now I am not the expert at statistics - you should mosey over to Five Chinese Crackers and Left Foot Forward to see exactly how these things are being confected and cherrypicked - but my point is on how these things keep popping up, even though the analysis doesn't support the big scary headlines.
You have to wonder why people writing these stories ignore certain factors - coincidentally, all the factors that would make the numbers less scary. As 5cc said of the "85%" story:
People retire. People leave the workforce. Some people who entered the workforce won't be counted because they filled those positions.
In fact, that's one of the main reasons people use for encouraging immigration. There are more people about to reach retirement age in the UK than are old enough to enter the workforce, so we need people to take up the slack. You can disagree with that proposition if you like, but if you use the argument that using immigration to take up the slack is a bad thing because more foreign people will get jobs, you're sailing dangerously close to the bit of the ocean known on the maps as 'Xenophobia'. The one with the dirty great whirlpool in it the sailors call 'Racism'. Arr.
But then some people set a course for those waters, and go there full steam ahead. Deliberately misrepresenting the impact of immigration on the workforce is something that happens again, and again, and again - so frequently that there's a real danger that people might actually start believing it. If people think the 50% that Left Foot Forward claims is a more accurate figure is too much, then fine, by the way (although I'd disagree) - but let's have a proper discussion, without having to resort to scaremongering and distortion. Can we do that?
And now we're at election time, it's no surprise that this old chestnut has come around again - supposedly it's "Labour's employment shame" but really it's a shameful piece of distortion from whoever decided to skew the figures so they made the impact of immigration look greater than it actually is. But then that assumes these people do have a sense of shame. And I really wonder whether they do.
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