The dwindling band of hacks at the Telegraph are having to stretch their talents rather thinly right now, and there is no finer example than today’s lead story, for which David Barrett should hang his head in shame, such is the crude and obvious slanting of reality. “£120bn cost of Labour’s policy on immigration” it proclaims, or, in plain English, “for God’s sake vote Conservative next May”.
“Immigrants who came to live in Britain from outside Europe cost the public purse nearly £120 billion over 17 years, a new report has shown ... The report analysed figures from 1995 to 2011, during most of which the Labour government was pursuing vigorously pro-immigration policies” tells Barrett, not letting readers know that Labour did not ease its non-EEA migration policy.
Yes, I know, that got lost in the fog of battle, but back to the hatchet job: “It found that migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) made a negative contribution to the public purse of £117.9 billion because they consumed more in public expenditure – including NHS costs, welfare hand-outs and education – than they contributed in taxes”. That is what the headline is about.
And, as the man said, there’s more: “The report, to be published in the Economic Journal, said the non-EEA group – largely made up of immigration from countries such as India, Pakistan and African Commonwealth countries – contributed less because families tended to have more children and lower employment rates”. Note that countries with predominantly White populations are not mentioned.
So that’s it, is it? Well, no it isn’t: “The native population made a negative contribution in 12 years during the period, running to £591 billion in total, as the British economy ran at a deficit”. HOLD IT RIGHT THERE. Why are readers being told to “look over there at those Black and Asian people” when most of the negative contribution was coming from those already living here?
And, while we’re at it, why do we have to wait until the tenth paragraph to read “European migrants made an overall positive contribution to the British economy of £4.4 billion over the period” followed by “Since 2000 European migrants were 43 per cent less likely than native Britons to receive benefits or tax credits, and 7 per cent less likely to live in social housing”?
This is not quite as bad as the article that took an NHS patient satisfaction survey that registered a 99% positive rating and translated it into a headline telling of “NHS Shame”, but it’s moving in the same general direction. That much is confirmed by including a quote from the hyper-litigious Andrew Green of Migration Watch.
The Telegraph might as well circulate Tory party literature. After all, think of how many more hacks they could send down the road if they did.