On Monday (7th of October) the BBC informed us – or at least James Gallagher did - that “Nobel Prize winner John O'Keefe” has a big problem with the the government's rules on immigration. More precisely, O'Keefe “has warned the UK government [that its] polices on immigration” are “risking Britain's scientific standing”.
|The BBC's James Gallagher.|
The BBC – or at least James Gallagher - then backed up its pro-immigration position with a kind of positive ad hominem. It told us that “Prof O'Keefe, 74, was awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine on Monday”. And then came the politics. The BBC quotes O'Keefe as stating: "The immigration rules are a very, very large obstacle.”
Now I'm willing to accept that much of what John O'Keefe says may be true or accurate. However, this piece isn't about O'Keefe's position on immigration. It's about the BBC using O'Keefe's position (or words) on immigration to advance or support its own position on immigration. (That's why I won't be commenting on O'Keefe's no doubt controversial position on animal experimentation.)
You can take the under-text of this piece to be the following:
Limiting immigration is a bad thing because a Nobel Prize winner says that it is.
Why aren't we allowing all these fantastic neuroscientists and other highly-qualified people into the UK (along with all those other super immigrants)?
As everyone knows, for every neuroscientist or scientist allowed into the UK there will be tens of thousands of unqualified people who are also allowed in (many of those end up on benefits).
Besides which, I doubt that highly-qualified people do find it (that) difficult to enter the UK. For a start, there's no evidence in the BBC piece as to why it's so difficult. In fact it's all very vague. John 0'Keefe himself is quoted (twice) as saying: "The immigration rules are a very, very large obstacle.”
He continues by saying:
"I am very, very acutely aware of what you have to do if you want to bring people into Britain and to get through immigration, I'm not saying it's impossible, but we should be thinking hard about making Britain a more welcoming place."
Again, John O'Keefe says that he's “very acutely aware of what you have to do if you want to bring people into Britain and to get through immigration”. Now is he talking about neuroscientists, scientists and other qualified people here or immigrants generally?
It becomes clear that O'Keefe ( as well as the BBC) must surely be talking about immigration generally (not the situation with highly-qualified immigrants) when you take on board what the Home Office says in response to these complaints. It states:
"Whilst the government has not shied away from taking tough action on abuse, the number of genuinely skilled people coming to the UK to fill skilled vacancies is on the rise."
And that's why I think this is yet another example of the BBC rather surreptitiously publishing another piece in favour of immigration.
Considering the fact that 5,466,000 - over five million - immigrants entered the UK between 1997 and 2007 alone (as well as the fact that O'Keefe says that “we should be thinking hard about making Britain a more welcoming place”), I can only conclude that O'Keefe and the BBC are in favour of yet more mass immigration. In other words, over five million immigrants have been allowed into the UK in the last decade and O'Keefe and the BBC are still deeply unsatisfied.
The BBC itself – rather than O'Keefe - shows us its bias (or the fact that it's really talking about immigration generally) when it states the following:
“Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to reduce net migration to less than 100,000 a year by 2015, while Home Secretary Theresa May has spoken about reducing it to tens of thousands.”
Now there's not much in the above quote which is specifically about Nobel Prize winners, neuroscientists and other highly-qualified scientists, is there? That's because, underneath the fluff, this piece is really about the government's recent statements on immigration (which surely can't be believed anyway).
Actually, this BBC article is really about the BBC's own position on immigration.
The BBC's Prose-Style
It's the easiest thing in the world to display political or ideological bias without explicit editorialising or comment. You certainly don't need to indulge in political rhetoric and polemics. Left-wing academics galore, for example, restrain themselves all the time (“academic standards” and all that). And just like such left-wing academics, the BBC also refrains from explicit political bias, rhetoric and polemics because that's what's expected of it.
Despite saying that, the BBC is often at its most extreme and biased when it comes to the subject of immigration. And it shows that bias in many and various subtle ways.
In this particular case, instead of an article with the title, say, 'Why we should allow more immigrants into the UK' or 'Why immigration is a good thing' (or 'We are international community'), the BBC offers us this title instead: 'Nobel Prize winner John O'Keefe concerned over immigration policy'.
I have yet to see an entire BBC News piece about either a single individual’s problems with immigration or the problems with immigration in the abstract. Though - and here comes that BBC subtlety again - people's problems with immigration are sometimes covered. Of course they are. The problem is that they're rarely – or never - the central point in any BBC pieces. (Except in extreme and exceptional cases such as the infamous Gordon Brown Bigotgate case.)
Sure, there's no explicit pro-immigration pontificating in this BBC News piece. The BBC rarely does that. Instead the bias is displayed in the very fact that the BBC has chosen to cover this very minor story in the first place: a story which it thinks is worth turning into news. After all, no other newspaper has featured this particular case.
As I said, the BBC doesn't go in for extreme or blatant editorialising/commentary on its website BBC News.... The BBC's a “public service broadcaster” funded by the taxpayers of the UK – remember? So the BBC publishes articles like this instead. It also fills BBC audiences (such as Question Time) with ethnic minorities, Leftist lawyers and other professionals who support unlimited immigration. It quotes the ideologically-correct people more extensively than it does “bigots”.
The way the BBC once described its position on anthropogenic global warming can be applied - pretty much untouched - to the case of immigration. For example, the BBC once said (in 2009) the following:
“.... given the weight of scientific opinion [on climate change], the challenge for us to strike the right balance between mainstream science and sceptics since to give them equal weight would imply that the argument is evenly balanced.”
That can be paraphrased into the following:
Given the weight of expert opinion on immigration, the challenge for us to strike the right balance between experts on immigration and immigration sceptics (or those against immigration) since to give them equal weight would imply that the argument is evenly balanced.
In response to the first quote, Christopher Booker said:
“In other words, in the name of reporting impartially, [the BBC] saw no need to report impartially.”
The obvious point to make about the latter paraphrase is the majority of British people are indeed “sceptical” about the benefits of immigration – and they're certainly sceptical about mass immigration. That is the case regardless of what the “experts” think.
This isn't about stopping neuroscientists, Nobel Prize winners and other qualified/skilled people from entering the UK and even from becoming citizens. It's about British governments - with the tacit support of the BBC – attempting to “alter the social and political make-up” of the UK; as well as the concomitant attempt to “rub the face of the Right [or the white working class?] in diversity” (at least under New Labour). So how do I know all that? I know all that because some of the people who were responsible for these things have explicitly admitted as much – if only after they left government!