Friday, July 16, 2010

The appalling Daily Express

Sean McCormack challenges the latest outburst of xenophobia coming from Britain's tabloids.

[This is a guest post]

It's not often I do any sort of writing anymore, and its a hell of a lot longer since I did anything politically motivated but something in the past few days just hasn't sat right with me.

Look at the picture and take a minute to think of exactly what that frontpage headline says and what they're getting at. Got it? Good.

Now I reckon most if not all of the people who read this post will think the same thing.

The Daily Express is implying that in the near future, one in five people in Britain will be non-caucasian. And just to make sure that their dear readers' anger is pointed in the right "ethnic" direction, take a look at the photo that accompanies the online version of the story.

You see that don't you? It's two women covered head to toe in the dreaded niqabs. And just to hammer home the point that these horrible ethnics are going to be taking over, one of them is pushing a pram. Probably with a terrifying little brown baby inside that will take a school place from a good Christian white child.

Now obviously the Daily Express likes to do this sort of thing. When its not talking about how house prices and single mothers killed Princess Diana and abducted Madeleine McCann, its talking about foreigners. And the way it talks about foreigners is getting worse. Some headline examples we've had in the past few months from the Express and its sister paper the Daily Star:

"The BBC puts Muslims before YOU!"
"Keep Out! Britain is FULL UP!"
"Strangers in OUR OWN COUNTRY!"
"Foreigners take ALL new jobs in Britain!"
"Foreigners take 90 PERCENT OF ALL NEW JOBS!"
"Foreigners take 85 PERCENT OF ALL NEW JOBS!"
"Foreigners take 70 PERCENT OF ALL NEW JOBS!"**

Basically if you're not a white, British, Christian, straight person, the Express and Star have got it in for you.

The reason yesterday's headline got me thinking though was that it sits an awful lot closer to home for me, and many many of my friends on Facebook.

The Daily Express takes its figures from a study commissioned by The University of Leeds. Now I know for a fact that no department in any university would be OK with a newspaper turning a study into out an out racism, but especially so because Leeds is a very open and welcoming environment. The amount of multicultural and multilingual societies at the uni is really impressive, and a very good thing in my opinion. So I delved a little deeper.

It turns out that the report clearly states that the biggest rise in any "ethnic grouping" (horrible term imho), is going to come from white/caucasian immigration from Australia, Ireland and the United States.

Notice something those countries have in common? English speaking. And this something that MIGHT happen by 2051.

It's not a prediction, it's a population forecast, and as I learnt from my geography lessons at school and in uni, population forecasts are horrendously unreliable.

Did you know the British population was widely forecasted to have reached 80 million by 2010? Thought not. Yet funnily enough the Express doesn't mention this until the very end of the article, something which most Express readers will miss thanks to the headline and accompanying photograph screaming at you that those horrible brown people are going to get us.

On a personal note, after reading the article it turns out that I'm also one of the dreaded "ethnics". Yep. Seriously. I'm one of those people who've come over here and stole your jobs, benefits, women, cheese etc. My grandparents are Irish, therefore that makes me an ethnic minority. Funnily enough, the Express seems fine with that.

**Over a period of about 6 months they kept changing their minds.

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