No talk of immigration? What planet is the Daily Mail living on?

Bizarre populist claims disguise the paper's real concern - UKIP splitting the Tory vote.


“Mass immigration, the subject that dare not speak its name, has been all but airbrushed from this election, even by the Tories.”

That was the message on the front page of yesterday’s Daily Mail, in what must be among the most bizarre moments in a very odd election campaign.

For any one awake and literate (or semi-literate) over recent months, the claim that immigration is ‘the subject that dare not speak its name’ is enough to make one’s head spin.

The paper’s comment ran next to its report that among Tory voters in 2010 who plan to vote UKIP this year, 94 per cent named immigration as the reason for the switch.

The paper ran a rare full page editorial headed:

IMMIGRATION: It’s the issue of our time. So why is it being totally ignored by the major parties?

Mail immigration

The piece calls on David Cameron to reassure these UKIP voters and urge them to ‘come home’ to the Tory party. Today the paper got it’s wish. The Mail’s front page screams:



Cameron appears inside with his own full-page editorial doing just as the paper wanted. (Almost as if the whole thing was contrived by the Mail and Tory HQ…)

Cameron immigration

What makes this so surreal is the fact that everyone is talking about immigration. All the time. 

It’s possible the Conservatives are keen to skirt over their missed ‘tens of thousands’ target, with immigration in the year up to September 2014 at 298,000. (In 2010 Cameron told voters: “If we don’t deliver our side of the bargain, kick us out in five years.”)

But the idea the subject has been put on the back burner is false.

Both David Cameron and Ed Miliband gave speeches in November and December respectively focussed solely on immigration.

‘Controls on immigration’ is one of the Labour party’s five election pledges. They even put it on a mug.

Miliband made a speech just last week on immigration arguing for tough controls and saying Labour would succeed where the Tories had failed.

And in March, UKIP, a party whose main election platform is reducing immigration, launched its campaign at the white cliffs of Dover with posters of escalators to show how easy it is for migrants to reach Britain. (I think they might regret that one in light of recent events.)

The recent deaths of hundreds of migrants crossing the seas to Europe have placed migration at the centre of public and political debate.

Today, as the Mail gives space to Tory propaganda attacking Miliband, the Labour leader is giving a speech on foreign policy with special attention on what to do about migration from Libya.

All this and more (newspaper stories, for example) about ‘the subject that dare not speak its name’! 

Perhaps when the Daily Mail calls immigration the central issue in this election, what it means is the central issue for the Daily Mail, and for readers who might split the Tory vote.

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


Read more: Tory cynicism as press takes Salmond’s budget joke seriously

Daily Mail spins BBC leaders’ interviews to toe the Tory line

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41 Responses to “No talk of immigration? What planet is the Daily Mail living on?”

  1. Mike Stallard

    Let us be honest. Mr Miliband and Mr Balls and his wife were right there at the centre when the Labour government opened the doors to half a million Poles.
    Now I like the Poles. I tried (niestety nie mogawem) to learn Polish. Then came the Liths and Letts. (I was teaching two lovely Lith Ladies English just yesterday). Mr Farage it was, as I remember, who first warned about an influx of Romanians and Bulgarians for which he was mocked by the entire Press Corps and the impartial BBC including the Heir to Paxman, Ewan Davis.
    Last night four Romanians turned up with one Bulgarian. When I go to the gym, it is the team of Romanians who are doing the car wash outside Tesco. Several of the Poles I know now (most have left ages ago) are living off the State.
    Trick me once – your fault.
    Trick me twice – my fault.

  2. damon

    There isn’t much of a discussion about immigration, because people like Leon keep wrecking them. There’s a guy on LBC radio show a bit like him too.
    This is a book he’s brought out about diversity and immigration, called ”Loathe thy neighbour”

    ”Immigration is the thorny question that just won’t go away. It feeds a whole industry of commentators, pundits and politicians who take great delight in whipping us all into a frenzy, speaking for the ‘ordinary people’. But, when ugly prejudices are being fed by professionals grown fat on the fear and fury of their consumers, it is time to stop and ask whether the faceless group of immigrants really exists – or whether it just appeals to our basest fears. In this lively polemic, James O’Brien brings some common sense back into the discussion. Some people want to be frightened. They thrive on anger and division and upset. But many people don’t, and it is they who are most let down – most insulted – by the immigration debate. We don’t need to buy into this myth. There is no such thing as ‘immigrants’. There is no ‘they’. There is only ‘we”’

  3. JoeDM

    Uncontrolled immigration is the root cause of the problems in the NHS, the housing market and low wages.

  4. Guest


    As you whine in…a discussion, as you try and prevent publication of books you don’t like.
    You’re a censor and an anti-semite.

  5. Leon Wolfeson

    Keep whining, as you pick out the foreigners you see, for your hate, ignoring everyone else else.

    You evidently bitterly hate Poles, of course, and everyone else not just like you. You want to smash shut the borders or there might be the odd foreigner around,.

    You’re not tricking anyone, it’s transparently your agenda to lower wages via blaming the Other, Mr. Farrage, as you talk about the risk of something which never happened to the scale you claimed, even remotely so.

Comments are closed.