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Thursday 8 September 2011

Criminal Mail Aggression

The dog whistle is being sounded again today, this time on EU migrants and crime, and in the vanguard is the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery at the Daily Mail. But the supposedly quality Maily Telegraph is, on this occasion as with so many others, marching in lockstep. And the rhetoric is as predictable as the figures are misleading.

What the readers have to be frightened about this time is that folks who come to the UK from other EU countries commit crimes. Who’d have thought it? And in the year ending 2010, over 27,000 were convicted. For the Dacre hackery, this is an “explosion”, with the emphasis on deportation, which is supposedly undermined by “EU diktats and Labour’s [my emphasis] Human Rights Act”.

This, though, is not new news: the same story was run by the Maily Telegraph in April. But what is new is an attempt at blatant self publicity by Tory MP Dominic Raab. And in neither case are the figures put into context, nor the kinds of offences for which most of those convictions have been made considered. Those figures make rather more interesting reading.

In the year to 2010, there were 1.4 million convictions (figures HERE [.pdf]). The latest figures that could be found for EU nationals in the UK is for 2008, and shows 2.6% of the population from the “EU 27”. The percentage in 2010 was likely to have been higher, but even with the 2008 numbers, if EU nationals were to be convicted at the same rate as the general population, that would give 36,400.

But the actual number of convictions for EU nationals to 2010 was just over 27,500, so those EU nationals appear rather better behaved than the average. So what kinds of crimes are being committed? Well, these involve a range of drug offences, being drunk and disorderly, and harassment. And for these, the Daily Mail is suggesting those convicted be deported?

Moreover, what is not told is how many of these convictions were for offences committed within migrant communities: after all, the purpose of the Mail attack is to scare readers into assuming that migrants are harmful to them. Nor will the figures be published – not in the Mail, anyway.

And as for the attempt to stoke a deportation mania, consider this: just what kind of a righteous froth would the Dacre hackery work itself into if the authorities in Spain or France decided to deport Brits back to the UK for getting tanked up and having a scrap with the locals?

There would be no protest then about “Labour’s Human Rights Act”. And there would be no sign of Dominic Raab. Because this is just another lame attempt to stoke up xenophobia and hatred. End of.

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