Wednesday, 28 October 2009

MailWatch #6 Part 3

Part 3 of a 3-part instalment of our occasional service debunking migration stories in the Daily Mail, self-styled 'Last Bulwark Against The Tide Of Filth That Is Threatening To Engulf Civilisation'™

Part 1 : Part 2

So finally we come to the Mail's response to the long anticipated (at least by them) figures for the projected population growth in the UK for the next 25 years, fertile ground to find new immigration-related sticks to beat the government with.* Over two days, and three article (one an opinion piece by MigrationBotch), they attempt to scare the pants of their faithful readers with tales of impending population doom, all focusing on the mysterious 70 million mark [Fx: doomy organ chords].

The only problem is is the fact that these population projections come out every two years and we more or less already knew what they were going to say, as Tim Finch pointed out in the Guardian. We also knew that the Mail were going to milk it for all it was worth. After all, they have done it before. [See: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]** Some of are particular favourites are:

'Rising immigration could double population of Britain by 2081'
'England on the verge of becoming 'the most crowded country in Europe''
'1million more Britons in just three years as immigration fuels biggest population boom for a century'
'Migrants will help to swell population of England by two London-sized cities within 50 years'

and, wait for it:

'It's official - England is the MOST crowded country in Europe, thanks to immigration'

The significance of the latter will become more obvious later. But to get back to the task in hand.

21 October

First up, on the day the figure came out, we had yet another in the Mail's long line of 'UK population to be more than 70 million by...' scare stories, 'Immigration to drive up Britain's population to 70million within 20 years' (by Daily Mail Reporter!). This one however was merely a swift raid on the government's newly laid projections (with an emphasis on the word projections) to keep the public's appetite whetted until the real meat and veg could be served up the next day, as well as allowing the Mail's reporters enough time to find said juicy morsels (in the absence of a really juicy MigrationBotch press release to plagiarise).

The first thing that leaps out of the page at you in this article is, that unless you already knew that these were: "2008-based national population projections...based on the estimated population at the middle of 2008 and a set of demographic trend-based assumptions about future fertility, mortality and migration. The projections are not forecasts and do not attempt to predict the impact that future government policies, changing economic circumstances or other factors might have on demographic behaviour.", to quote the 'Statistical Bulletin: National population projections, 2008-based' (NPP08), you would be forgiven for thinking that this was some central government 5-Year Plan (or 25-year in this case) for UK population growth, not a set of predictions (maybe they already had an inkling of the so-called 'secret plan for multi-cultural Britain'?).

So in the Mail we have:

"Immigration will account for"; "around 180,000 immigrants will arrive"; "the surge in immigration will mean"; "every year 425,000 more people will be living in the UK"; and "across the UK the total will hit 71.6 million in 2033", all "according to official figures released today."

And it is not until we get half way through the article and we come across some quotes from Guy Goodwin of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and Phil Woolas, that we are actually told that these are in fact projections.***

Having said that MigrationBotch's press release was rather paltry, the Mail does manage to wring 6 sentences of directly lifted quotes (2/3rds of the text) from said 'document'. All pretty staid on Green's part, reeling out the old "entire population of London in the next 25 years" sound bite yet again. We do however get a juicy bit of ranting from UKIP's Farage:

"The ONS's figures are a damning indictment of decades of failed immigration policies." - His definition of "failed immigration policies" are policies that let anyone in the country. UKIP want "a five-year moratorium on immigration (except for people with parents or grandparents born in the UK)".
"The suggested rises will have a devastating impact both on our infrastructure, and also our culture." Whose culture is this Nige? (It's impossible to tell from your website as all the links are broken. Had to sack you webmaster through lack of funds?)
"Britain urgently needs proper borders and immigration checks, both from within and without the EU. Until we control our own borders, we will be able to do nothing to halt these rises. Any party claiming that they can control immigration without first taking back control of our borders is trying to hoodwink the electorate." Last time we looked the UK was surrounded by water, which makes for a pretty good border, and it was UK Border Agency staff running the passport checks to get into the country.

22 October

Things have moved on slightly by now and we have a named author of this article, one Steve Doughty, who wrote 'More than 700 migrants a day have been let in to Britain since Labour came to power' and the wonderful 'Cut population by a third, say crowded Britons' - "One in four Britons would like to see the population reduced by up to a third to ease overcrowding" from an Optimum Population Trust survey. He also seems to have grasped the idea that these are projections not plans but his grasp of statistics is somewhat ropey.

For a start Doughty clearly knows nothing about population dynamics, otherwise he would not have come out with, "Crowded Britain heading for 70m as migration causes population to rise faster than ever before" and "Britain's population is rising at a speed [we think he means rate] unprecedented in history, official figures revealed yesterday". The fact is that natural populations tend to have a period of exponential growth when their environmental resources are putting no limit on that growth. It's basic 'A-Level' science and is reflected in the overall shape of the Mail's graph. And if you wish to have a stable human population you have to have the nuclear family with 2.4 children (to allow for pre-reproductive age mortality rates) with no immigration or emigration - sound familiar? All other scenarios lead to population change.****

The most ludicrous claim he make however, leaving aside the 'graph' (more on that later), is:

"England is already the third-most-crowded major country in the world and the most crowded country in Europe except for the island of Malta, according to British and UN figures." Where to start?

1. England is not a "major country" on anyone's political spectrum (except of course the fruit-loop Right). England is part of an international political entity called the UK. The UK can, just about, still be classed as a "major country".
2. England is not the "third-most-crowded major country in the world".
3. Nor is it the "most crowded country in Europe except for the island of Malta", "according to British and UN" or anybodies figures.

A quick look at the graph will tell you that the "figures" that this claim is based upon are for Population and Population Density for 2004. Take a look at the Wikipedia version of the United Nations World Population Prospects (2004 revision). Now there you will see that the UK is listed as the 34th most densely populated country or the 52nd if you include dependencies. In Europe it is 7th after Monaco, the Vatican City, Malta, San Marino, the Netherlands and Belgium or 10th if you include Gibraltar, Jersey and Guernsey.

By the same criteria, and using a population figure for England for 2004 from the National Population Projections 2004-based (Series PP2 No 25), we get a population of 50,094,000 and a population density of 246 per sq. km. This would only take England up the chart one place (above Belgium at 342 per sq. km and below the Netherlands at 395, not 393 as it gives for Holland (sic) on the graph).

So how does he come by these strange figure and the graph? Well, first he uses the current "estimated population at the middle of 2008" [NPP08] against figures for 2004. Bit of a cheat really. Then he arbitrarily uses a cut-off of countries with a population of more than 10 million. And to top it all he misses out Taiwan, the second most densely populated country by his own criteria of 22.9 million people at 636 per sq. km, together with India, the second most populus country on Earth with 1,131 million people, admittedly with a population density of only 344 per sq. km.

Then he includes the South East of England for comparison even though it has only 8.2 million at 2008 figures. Now we cannot be bothered to go look up the correct 2004 figures for the South East. Instead we have decided to play him at his game and take arbitrary parts of countries and compare them (for 2004 of course).

USA - 302.7 million at 31 individuals per sq. km
California - 35.9 million / 84 per sq. km
New York City - 8 million / 10,252 per sq. km

Or Guangdong, the most populous area of mainland China (and with a GDP about a fifth of the UK) - 110 million at 618 individuals per sq. km.

You see how easy it is to have fun with figures and how easy it is manipulate them. The rest of the article kind of pales in comparison to all that, but we''ll persevere.

New Labour needless to say comes in for a bit of stick:

"Despite claims by Labour ministers that population growth is slowing because immigration is on a downward trend, the ONS said that for the foreseeable future the population will grow by 180,000... Two years ago the state statisticians put the immigration gain at 190,000 a year." So it is in fact slowing, even if it is not by as much as the Mail would hope.

This is followed by a bit of 'stating the blindingly obvious' from Peter Madden, mouthpiece for Forum for the Future "an environmental group launched by one-time Government adviser Sir Jonathon Porritt" (they do like their titles):

"Population growth will put greater pressure on our public services and increase competition for housing. Protecting our environment and meeting climate change targets will become even harder." And not to forget "social cohesion" which "will suffer...unless it is handled properly."

This is followed by some Woolas waffle, just to keep things a little 'balanced', and on to:

"Labour MP Frank Field and Tory Nicholas Soames, leaders of the Cross-Party Group on Balanced Migration, said: 'We are on course for an unsustainable and unacceptable rise in population. If politicians want to rebuild trust and counter extremism, they must stop ignoring the public's deep concern about this." Can't you just picture them like Tweedledum and Tweedledee saying that in unison.

Whilst you are at it you should check out the Balanced Migration group's press release on this subject (which incidentally shows that it is in fact a Soames quote). If you think that the Mail's graph is dodgy, check out theirs! They take a start year for their graph of 1971, which shows an almost flat period of growth of more than a decade, which suddenly starts to go up and up, carrying their projection beyond 2081. Talk about selective use, or as we say in our neck of the wood, manipulation of statistics.

The article however finishes of with the really scary stuff. The thing that these flat-earthers continue to ignore - the demographic time bomb.

"It estimated that there will be 3.3million over-85s by 2033 compared with 1.3million last year.

Despite the rise in the state pension age, which will be equal for men and women at 66 by 2033, numbers of pensioners will go up sharply. There will be 15.6million by the mid-2030s, the ONS said, compared with 11.8 million now.

The increase will mean that everybody of working age will have more pensioners to support.

The ratio of working age people to pensioners, currently 3.2 workers for each pensioner, will drop to 2.8 workers for each pensioner in 2033.

But without the increase in the age at which people are expected to retire, there would have been only 2.2 workers available to support each pensioner."

And who is it that currently wipes the arses and cares for the majority of the geriatrics via home help and in retirement homes up and down the country. Not anybody working for the Daily Mail and probably very few of its reader either. It is those migrants that the Little Englanders and new wave eugenicists in the burgeoning balanced migration industry (a bit like the holocaust deniers, but in reverse).

Alan Green (Green, as in bilious)

Last, and by far least, we come to MigrationBotch's contribution to the 'debate' in the Mail,***** 'We must halt this conspiracy of silence over our immigration crisis'. What is this "conspiracy of silence among the main political parties on this vitally important subject cannot be allowed to continue"? It seems to us that immigration is all some people ever talk about, Alan. Certainly you never seem to let up, trotting out the tired hackneyed phrases:

"Labour's policy of open borders" Which borders are those? You must fly off to exotic locations all the time Alan? Mustique, Barbados, Florida. Surely even your wealth and renown doesn't open all the border controls you come across? When was the last time you slummed it and took a Calais-Dover ferry?

"Put simply, the increase in immigrants we face is the equivalent of the entire population of London or seven cities the size of Birmingham." Seven cities the size of Birmingham! How can you manage to sleep when your worst fear is coming at you seven-fold?

"London and the South East, which is already the most congested part of England." That's probably been the case since the last Ice Age, so nothing new there.

"And remember that England itself is now the most crowded country in Europe." Ooops! You forgot to say "except Malta" there. See the discussion above for the truth about this lie.

"Trevor Phillips, head of the Human Rights and Equality Commission, has been warning for years that we are 'sleepwalking into segregation'. He has said we are a society which is becoming more divided by race and religion, almost without noticing it." Except Phillips' concern in his 'sleepwalking' speech wasn't immigration, but the failure of immigrant and host communities to adapt and adjust to each other, and the ghettoisation that resulted from this.

Next up we have one of Green's killer non-fact facts:

"In central London primary schools, only 20 per cent of pupils are now classified as 'white British'." Where does he get these from? There is absolutely no reference to this 'fact' on the MigrationBotch website (except for the reposting of the Mail article) and we can find no reference to it on the net. The closest we can come to it is are some statistics released by the State of Equality in London Report 2008, which found that 33.4% of Inner London came from the "white ethnic background ... (includes white British, white Irish, white Traveller and white other)". This seems to be the most obvious 'official' source for such data. Maybe he has better access to the data or maybe he just picked it up from the BNP website, after all they use so much of his stuff in their campaigns.

Our real favourite however is: "The results of recent opinion polls are startling. Eighty-four per cent are worried about our population hitting 70million in 20 years or so, including two thirds of our ethnic population." This refers to a YouGov poll done for MigrationBotch back in July. The results actually show that 45% are very worried by the population rising to around 70 million in 2028, with 36% slightly worried. And 45% + 36% = 81% in our book. 1% of people polled were delighted, 14% wouldn't mind and 4% didn't know. Maybe some of the don't knows really secretly deep down inside are actually so worried that they can't actually make up their minds and so were added to the 'worried' total by Green?

"Seventy-one per cent are worried about the impact of immigration, including 45 per cent of the ethnic communities." We are unable to find the exact origins of these 2 pieces of 'data' (one of Green's problems is that he tends not to reference his 'facts' - they are quoted once or twice, and like any good rumour, each time it is passed on it subtly changes) but it probably refer to a 'major document' in the 'balanced migration debate' called 'Balanced Migration: A new approach to controlling immigration', the founding statement of Tweedledum and Tweedledee's organisation (see above).

On page 20 of that document we find:

"47% of Asians and 45% of black people believe there is too much immigration
and too many migrants in the UK.", with reference to a footnote that states, "The figure is nearly 70% for the population as a whole."

This comes from a document called 'Our Shared Future' (page 31) and it was 68% for the population as a whole.

Again we say you can do anything with polls, especially when people answer questions they don't really understand. For example, the Optimum Population Trust's opinion poll conducted to coincide with World Population Day earlier this year found that 70% of the 2131 adults polled thought that the UK's population was too high. The most popular choice for the optimum level, selected by 24 per cent of respondents, was 40-50 million, except for the 40% who hadn't got a clue. Six per cent actually thought that a population of less than 30 million, half of what we have now, would be the best!

Green rounds of his diatribe with, what is for him, a measured few sentences:

"The reality is that there is no single measure that will do the trick. What is needed is a commitment from the main parties to take all possible measures to keep the population well below 70million."

And then he has to go and spoil it:

"We cannot allow the population to be determined by hundreds of pages of immigration regulations relating to the minutiae of individual cases, as at present. We need a considered policy with a defined purpose, around which regulatory measures can be built." i.e. close to zero immigration. Drop the portcullis, pull up the drawbridge, post armed guards. We need a Fortress UK policy, which is no policy at all, unless you are an ostrich.

What about the demographic time bomb, as outlined in the ONS study and that creeps in at the end of the Mail's 'Crowded Britain' article with little comment? It's all right for Green, he is independently wealthy and, even though he is 74, he wont have to rely on the sort social services regime with no workers that would be inevitable if he and the OPT had their way. Maybe we could try compulsory euthanasia? Get rid of some of the burgeoning geriatric population that we couldn't afford to keep. Compulsory sterilisation for all those 'foreigners' who are 'breeding like flies'? What's your answer Mr Green?

* And anyone else who either thinks that migration is a good thing or is even neutral on the subject - after all, if you are not with us you are against us.
** Notice how many articles are penned by Steve Doughty and our old friend James Slack (by name, slack by nature).
*** In a 'blink and you miss it moment' the article does in fact refer to "the figures predicted" and "the prediction" in close conjunction, but this appears to be in relation to these "official figures" and "the immigrant baby boom".
See: Factors Influencing Population Growth part way down the page.
***** The Guardian also deigned to give Green space for a rant ('The real threat of immigration') after years of ranting about how the 'left' and the Guardian in particular were ignoring him.

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