Daily Express blames Greek economic crisis on EU and immigration

Hateful scapegoating and economic garbage from the UKIP supporting paper

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‘EU membership is dragging Greece into the Dark Ages’, says the Daily Express’s Leo McKinstry.

His column today blames Greece’s current economic woes on 1) its being part of the Eurozone, which he elides with membership of the European Union, and 2) migration into Greece from outside Europe, which he also blames on the EU.

The piece uses Greece as a way to argue about British membership of the EU by proxy. It’s therefore important to highlight why his argument is complete garbage.

For one thing, the Greek economy is not comparable to that of Britain. The UK is a much richer country with far less corruption than Greece. Crucially, the UK has its own currency and central bank, and can therefore print more money if it needs too, whereas Greece has the Euro and is at the mercy of the European Central Bank (ECB).

The behaviour of the ECB is the proximate cause of Greece’s torturous position. Its insistence on austerity measures in return for financial help is grinding Greek society into dust, and has done little to help its economy. Public hatred of this German-led policy is what propelled Syriza into government in Greece in January.

In other words, the trouble is with the administration of the Eurozone, not membership of it per se. After all, there are 19 countries using the Euro as their currency, and they don’t all have the same problems as Greece.

Does McKinstry seriously mean to say the UK economy is more comparable to that of Greece than Germany? Or why not compare it to other EU members with their own currency, such as Poland, which has thrived since joining the EU?

A report last week found Poland was outperforming Britain on health, education and using its wealth to benefit its citizens. This in a country which, as Express hero Nigel Farage keeps reminding us, was a communist dictatorship a few decades ago.

On point 2: to blame migration from what he calls ‘war-torn Somalia and Syria’ for Greece’s economic crisis is a hateful lie. People would be fleeing the war in Syria regardless of the size of Greece’s debt.

This is the sort of scapegoating that degrades the British press in the eyes of the world.

McKinstry even quotes the far-right Greek politician Panos Kamenos threatening to flood Europe with migrants – that is, spouting the equivalent of the racial demagogy carried by the Daily Express. 

There are certainly lessons to be drawn from the Greek crisis for Britain, not least on austerity economics. But among them is not, as the Express would have it, to leave the EU, pull up the drawbridge, and elect Nigel Farage to high office.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

Read more: 

Daily Mail says Syrian refugees turn Greek holiday town into ‘disgusting hellhole’

Express owner Desmond uses paper to protect his £1million UKIP donation

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17 Responses to “Daily Express blames Greek economic crisis on EU and immigration”

  1. Torybushhug

    Why do EU lovers frame independence as ‘drawing up the drawbridge’?
    Being open to the entire global economy and doing your own deals as you see fit (Switzerland has 31 trade deals to include 1 with China) is the very essence of openness and belief in ones own autonomy.
    The small c conservative inward looking mind-set is that of the coward afraid of change, afraid of embracing our own independent destiny.

    The cowardly status quo set imply that the peoples of independent nations such as Australia and S Korea are somehow hampered by implying they are impotent for want of being in an EU style federal block, without which they have no influence and are unable to co-operate with others. Utter tripe. Australia for example recently co-operated in a global child abuse initiative.
    So much for you guys being the gurdians of ‘evidence based politics’, lol.

  2. damon

    I’d like to hear Adam Barnett’s ideas about what should be done with the migrants who have moved into Greece? Should they be sent back to Turkey as they will have been in a safe country there?
    Many don’t want to stay in Greece I believe, so can not be considered to be asylum seekers by the proper definition of that process. Bulgaria is just over the border from Greece so how many of them want to go there? Or Romania in the next country after that?
    Should Britain be setting up some refugee camps like Turkey has? In Kent perhaps?
    I was in Athens a couple of years ago and it was pretty grim for illegal immigrants etc.
    Lots of people sleeping rough in the streets or abandoned buildings – and in cars.
    Many Africans, and south Asians too.
    What should the EU do about it?

  3. GTE

    There are certainly lessons to be drawn from the Greek crisis for Britain, not least on austerity economics.


    Caused by Keynsian Borrow and Spend.

    No debts, pensions or borrowing, and you would have no austerity.

    Austerity is a symptom of governments that spend too much money that they don’t have.

  4. Jonathan Hartley

    You don’t really understand economics, do you?

  5. Peter Martin

    Poland may have its own currency for now but not for much longer. It is committed under the terms of Maastricht to adopt the euro. Probably some time after 2020.

    Why? If the Poles are doing well why can’t they decide to keep the zloty if they wish?

    The EU treaties need to be renogotiated for the benefit of all countries not just the UK.

  6. Peter Martin

    If the UK Government didn’t have any debts , or liabilities, none of us would have any money. We’d be reduced to a barter economy. The govt’s financial liabilities are our financial assets!

  7. Copyright101

    Scapegoating – stupid scare word.

    What exactly are the benefits of large scale immigration into Greece at this time? What problems does Greece have that immigration doesn’t make worse? Can anyone explain?

    We might even want to apply the same thinking to the UK.

  8. Patrick Gearon

    You’re referring to currency Peter, not money. The kind of money GTF refers to is sound money – debt free, either printed and controlled by Treasury or backed by commodity. Either way, it has to be controlled by whatever means
    Obviously Cameron will continue to run a deficit in the expectation of joining the Euro by trashing the pound

  9. Peter Martin

    Currency ? Money? That’s just semantics.

    If we consider a closed economy of 1000 people they could elect a government and start a new currency, say it’s called a crown, from scratch. If the government issued everyone with one crown to start things off the govt would be 1k crowns in deficit. The economy would also have 1 k crowns of currency. Money. Call it what you like.

    You can introduce taxes, and the govt can pay its workers in crowns. But however you play it, the total liability of the govt, in crowns, will always equal the financial assets held by the non govt sector.

  10. Patrick Gearon

    Yes, currency in circulation = government debt. I understand. But that cannot be the model we have because of the interest i.e. the crown was loaned, not spent into existence as per your analogy
    I don’t doubt what you’re saying, in theory, but clearly this is not what is happening.

  11. Peter Martin

    Not just currency in circulation. Its all the bonds and othe securities that are sold too. So if someone wants to save some money they can buy a bond from the govt. Or they can put their money in a National savings account. That all builds up financial assets in the economy but debt or a liability on the part of the govt.

    I think you do doubt what I’m saying. If so, just look up the world total of National debts. They total to some $60 trillion. To whom do we owe the money? Mars?

    We owe it all to ourselves. The debts are simply the financial assets of those who hold that debt.

  12. swat

    As the Greeks are going to find out in the coming months, things are going to get a helluva lot worse with thousands more boat immigrants arriving in Lesbos, and their Euro collapsing, and Greece being kicked out of the EU. Still, I guess they can continue to trade with us in 201, and Norway and the Swiss.

  13. JoeDM

    Its the EU that is destroying Greece !!!

  14. gunnerbear

    Poland uses it’s wealth as it has to go around far fewer mouths in Poland given the vast amounts of Poles who have moved elsewhere. How much cash from UK benefits do Poles send home? Seems UK taxpayers cash is pouring into Poland… http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/515772/UK-taxpayers-face-huge-bill-from-EU-jobless-who-go-home http://www.workpermit.com/news/2007_03_02/poland/remittances_migrant_worker_money.htm And of course the most migrants work in low paid jobs that need wages top-ups from the UK taxpayer. Time we were out of the EU until each and every nation in it reaches the same living standards otherwise this will keep happening as people from p***-poor Easten European countries demand UK taxpayers funds….. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/poland/10553020/Poland-attacks-David-Cameron-plan-to-ban-Polish-and-EU-migrants-from-claiming-child-benefit.html Where does the author want UK taxpayers funds spent: in the UK on UK families and pensioners or on Polish families? C’mon Mr. Barnett, where do you want UK taxpayers funds spent…..in the UK on UK citizens or in Poland?

  15. ThomasEPalmer

    ….All time hit the leftfootforward Find Here

  16. David Foreman

    “Crucially, the UK has its own currency and central bank, and can therefore print more money if it needs too, whereas Greece has the Euro and is at the mercy of the European Central Bank”

    You realize by that statement you just gave the best example as to why the European Union is a bad idea. Without the Euro, there is no EU. I think you just shot yourself in your left foot

  17. Nikos nikopulos

    Cameron wanted the greeks scambugs blocked out of uk ,now wellcomes millions of angry muslims ,enjoy it

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