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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Mark Easton’s (BBC) Positive Generalisations/Stereotypes about Immigration

Yesterday I heard a BBC journalist, Mark Easton, on the Jeremy Vine Show (Radio 2: 30.4.2013) talking about his 2012 book, Britain etc.. His main subject was immigration. (I don’t know if that’s also true of his book.)

He pontificated for five minutes on the ceaseless and unpolluted glories of (unrestricted?) immigration. He used all the ancient Left-Liberal clichés about this issue.

For example, he told us about how the Labour Party brought immigrants over to the UK and how Commonwealth fighters were on our side during the Second World War.

He also told us about the “natural xenophobia and bigotry” of the British. Etc.

Yet in a five-minute spiel he didn't once mention even the very possibility of there being any negatives facts about immigration. Not a single one; not even for fairness’s sake or to fake objectivity on the matter.

The BBC and the Left-Liberal Establishment often accuse all critics of any aspect of immigration of “generalising” (negatively) about it; yet Mark Easton generalised (positively). Generalising is generalising. Or are PC and Left-Liberal generalisations and “stereotypes” OK?

He treated all immigrants as one pure solid block of endless positivity. He didn't take into account the immigrants - or their recent offspring - who aren’t "productive" – the hundreds of thousands who are unemployed. He didn't make any distinctions between the multitude of Muslim benefit-claimers (as well as their often being Islamists and militants), or the many unemployed eastern Europeans, and, say, the qualified Indian doctors working in the NHS. No: just one massive and positive generalisation about all immigrants being nothing but God's gift to the UK. I bet Mark Easton doesn't live in Manningham, Burnley or Alum Rock. (He does make a song and a dance about living in a “Glasgow council estate”…. until he was ten; and then he moved to Winchester in southern England.)

It’s strange really. Mark Easton used exactly the same argument about the unadulterated benefits of (mass?) immigration that have been used for over thirty years. It’s as if nothing has changed. It’s as if there haven’t been the Bradford Muslim Riots, the Islamic terrorist outrages, the massive Muslim-community- grooming scandal, the anti-white racism, the eastern-European gangs, etc. All this is ignored in order to make way for the classic but tired pro-immigration arguments which have filled our airwaves for decades. Don’t these pro-immigration zealots wonder why, after all these years, millions of British people still don’t accept their arguments or indeed their facts? That is unless they see all these millions of sceptics as being “xenophobes” or “bigots”.
Mark Easton
At one point Mark Easton told us about the many leaders and politicians who have used arguments against immigration or immigrants to further their own political ends or to keep them in power. No doubt that has been true on occasion. But hidden in Easton’s point is a fallacious argument. That is, just because some corrupt or devious politicians have used “anti-immigrant feelings” for their own ends; it doesn’t follow from that that there have never been any problems with immigration or with immigrants. That simply doesn’t follow. It certainly doesn’t rule out the very possibility of any problems. This seems to me to be a kind of giant BBC ad hominem argument against those all those who dare question any aspect of either immigration or certain groups of immigrants.

There was another erroneous argument. Mark Easton told us about a parliamentary commission, in the late 1950s or early 1960s, which looked into the possibility that “coloured people were work-shy”. The commission came to the conclusion that they weren’t. However, it doesn’t follow from those findings that this is still the case. It depends on which immigrants we are talking about and on which period we are talking about. That commission was carried in the late 1950s (or early 1960s) when things, immigrant-wise, were very different. Nowadays there are indeed perhaps up to a 500,000 or more work-shy immigrants. There are whole ghettos of Muslims who claim benefits. They are work-shy partly because some of them are using their benefits-given-time to further Islam or to increase Islamisation – even to organise or plot terrorist actions. Again, which damn immigrants are people like Mark Easton talking about? He should stop using positive stereotype and positive generalisations.

Germany was also mentioned. The fact, if it is a fact, that Germany has more immigrants than the UK yet the Germans are less “anti-immigrant” than us was mentioned. How, exactly, was it established that the Germans are less anti-immigrant than us? (One statistical survey cannot contain the truth on a matter as broad as this.) Does their being less so, even if true, automatically mean that they are not anti-immigrant at all? No: there are millions of German who are anti-immigrant. More specifically, very many Germans are sick to the back teeth of work-shy Muslims and Muslim trouble-makers – whether Islamists, terrorists or those who are trying to bring about sharia law in Germany. These very same Muslims are also usually on benefits. In terms of detail, it is Turkish Muslims who are proving to be problematic in Germany; but also north Africans and Somalians. (Unlike the UK, they don’t have many Pakistani Muslims.)

So, again, Mark Easton, and all those other no-questions-asked pro-immigration zealots, should stop using positive stereotypes and positive generalisations about all immigrants and about all aspects of immigration itself. If it’s wrong to generalise in the opposite direction; it’s wrong to do so in Mark Easton’s direction too.

 Mark Easton's reply to my email:

Dear Mr Murphy

Thank you for your email.

I was being interviewed in my capacity as author of ‘Britain etc.’ and was asked specifically about the chapter on immigration.

As I explained, this was a chapter looking at the way that politicians over the centuries have exploited people’s natural xenophobia to disguise their own shortcomings – blaming foreigners for domestic problems rather than themselves.

As such, I was not making an argument about the pros and cons of immigration itself but rather exposing the duplicitous and hypocritical attitudes of senior political figures.

Yours sincerely

Mark Easton

BBC Home Editor

My response to his emailed reply:

Dear Mark,

That's simply not true. You also mentioned Germany and German attitudes to immigrants, negative attitudes towards immigrants in the 1960s, and Commonwealth citizens fighting on our side in World War Two. (You also mentioned a parliamentary commission.)

If you are trying to say that you simply focused on one issue - the exploitation of immigrant-issues by leaders and politicians - that's simply not true.

Your point that what you said wasn't either pro- or con-immigration is simply disingenuous.

You know that's not true. I know it's not true and many others who listened will have concluded that too.
You know that's not true. 

Also, you said that "this ambivalence of the British people towards immigrants is pretty shocking". What has that got to do with conspiratorial leaders? That's your position on the British people not on its leaders. You also mentioned the British people's attitudes to whether immigrants should have NHS treatment. Again, no mention of leaders or politicians. And even that commission you referred to in the 1950s, that was an internal conspiracy, if a conspiracy at all, between politicians which didn't even filter down to the British people. So the British people weren't manipulated at all.

Maybe in Edward the Second's day people could be manipulated. However, to claim the same about millions of contemporary British citizens is supreme arrogance on your part.

Mark Easton's Latest Email to me:

Dear Paul

You are right – Jeremy did ask me about a survey he had seen suggesting the British have a very negative attitude towards immigrants compared to other European nations.

I do think it is shocking that, a significant minority of people in Britain don’t think immigrants who live and work here quite legally should be able to use the NHS and other public services.

You may be interested in this blog I wrote in 2011:

I also think it is shocking that a working party set up by the government in 1952 asked employers “is it true that coloured people are work-shy?” – a clearly leading question.  It is to the great credit of those who were asked this question that, despite a climate of prejudice and xenophobia at that time, they told the official pollsters the opposite.


Dear Mark,

Before I read your blog, the first thing is: when you are talking about British people not wanting “immigrants” to have NHS treatment, what do you mean by “immigrants”? You could mean old (settled) immigrants or very-recent immigrants. That makes a big difference surely. And what about illegal immigrants or those who are in a half-way-house situation? You do mention “legal” immigrants – but sometimes people can question that legality. Is Abu Qatada here legally? It depends what you mean by “legally”. And do they all “work here” as you state or are they just here? Again, that’s an assumption that all immigrants work, which you must know they don’t – far from it.

“You are right – Jeremy did ask me about a survey he had seen suggesting the British have a very negative attitude towards immigrants compared to other European nations.”

Again, which immigrants are you talking about? About West Indians who came here in the 1950/60s or about Abu Qatada and the many new Muslim immigrants from Somalia, Pakistan and north Africa? Most people make these distinctions, which you don’t seem to make yourself. Unless you believe that every person who has questions to ask about any aspect of immigration is against all immigrants.

“I also think it is shocking that a working party set up by the government in 1952 asked employers ‘is it true that coloured people are work-shy?’ – a clearly leading question.  It is to the great credit of those who were asked this question that, despite a climate of prejudice and xenophobia at that time, they told the official pollsters the opposite.”

I agree. But your point was that politicians and leaders use such views/facts to manipulate the public. From what I know, and what you say, this commission didn’t filter down to the public (other than employers). It was a conspiracy, if that’s the case, amongst politicians only.

In addition, is it literally impossible for immigrants to be work-shy or are you referring to generalisations about all immigrants? You generalise in the opposite direction. But I will add to that. Is it impossible for certain immigrant groups to be work-shy – regardless of their race or colour? If certain cultures are different, which you allow, then they may in principle be different in this respect too.

Alternatively, it may not be a question of being work-shy but one of hating this country or using the benefits system for one’s own ends.

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