It was with a terrible debilitating sense of ennui that we saw the front pages of the Express and Mail yesterday parroting an uncredited story from that bastion of reaction the Spectator's Coffee House blog, inflating it out of all significance and fuelling the two paper's respective ludicrously high non-story-immigration-stories counts of recent months, ludicrously high even if one takes in the fact that that a pseudo-election campaign has been up and running since the turn of the year.
This debilitating sense of ennui was further 'enhanced' by coming across the claim in the Mail article "Here JAMES SLACK explains what is really happening..." This kiss of death, James Slack 'by name, slack by nature' having another go at trying to juggle a bunch of statistics and dropping the whole lot in an unedifying pile on the floor. Having spent hours trying to decipher some of his previous attempts at simple maths, counting apples and oranges and getting bananas, we quiet frankly couldn't be bothered to waste our valuable time and energy.
Fortunately those nice people over at Five Chinese Crackers were crackers enough to try, so you can all have a look at their attempts to unravel the far from blue ribbon statistical analysis of the Mail and Express, and by inference the Spectator. And if you are feeling particularly masochistic, you too can read the Spectator's original post, its moan about the Mail stealing its story and its smug attempt to hatchet Woolas on his muddled response to their analysis. Additionally, Left Foot Forward have an alternative analysis of the figures, but quiet frankly the argument over 'British jobs for British workers' was nationalist posturing when Brown came out with it in the first place and it remains nationalist posturing, whatever the actual statistics.
As a footnote, it is very interesting that the Spectator, Mail and Express all seem to manage to find diffenent headline numbers for the percentage of jobs that they seem to think have gone to these 'damned foreigners' anyway. Who says statistics can't lie?