A xenophobe’s lexicon: anti-migrant language in Calais coverage

'A swarm of locusts' - here's what the words the press are using about Calais actually mean


After our 5-step guide on how to demonise migrants based on techniques in the UK press, MediaWatch presents: A xenophobe’s lexicon.

Here’s what the words the press are using about the ‘migrant crisis’ in Calais, France, actually mean. (Definitions from the Oxford Dictionary website.)

Horde – 1. chiefly derogatory A large group of people:
‘a horde of beery rugby fans’

1.1 An army or tribe of nomadic warriors:
‘Tartar hordes’

Used by: today’s Sun

Swarm – 1. A large or dense group of flying insects:
‘a swarm of locusts’

1.1 A large number of honeybees that leave a hive en masse with a newly fertilized queen in order to establish a new colony.

Used by: today’s Daily Mail front page, today’s Telegraph front page (after prime minister David Cameron)

Daily Mail Swarm 31 7 15

Invasion – 1.1 An instance of invading a country or region with an armed force.

1.2 An incursion by a large number of people or things into a place or sphere of activity.

1.3 An unwelcome intrusion into another’s domain.

Used by: yesterday’s Daily Express front page

Express 30 7 15

War zone – A region in which a war is being fought

Used by: today’s Daily Express front page

Daily Express 31 7 15

Jungle – 1. An area of land overgrown with dense forest and tangled vegetation, typically in the tropics

1.1 A wild tangled mass of vegetation or other things

1.2 A situation or place of bewildering complexity or brutal competitiveness

Used by: everyone as the de facto name for the ‘migrant camp’ in Calais

Siege – 1. A military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling those inside to surrender

Used by: today’s Telegraph, about the Channel Tunnel being ‘under siege’


Expect to be invaded by the Tartar locust hordes from the French jungle war zone any minute now. (Cue: Ride of the Valkyries.)

Swarm of locusts

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

Read more: 

Rod Liddle says send migrants back to Syria in the Sun’s shameful Calais coverage

Daily Mail’s 5 step guide to demonising migrants

Sign up for our weekly email by clicking here.

15 Responses to “A xenophobe’s lexicon: anti-migrant language in Calais coverage”


    Typical from a Jew, why is it ok for Jews to have a jewish state but not the english? If you dont like it you can always return home to Israel a land you stole from the Palestinians anytime you like, you wont be missed !


    By the way swarm, is a adjective meaning its a descriptive term ,didn’t they teach you anything in the very expensive public school you went to retard?

  3. damon

    The tactics being used by the Calais migrants could be described as something like those words.
    They use their sheer numbers overcoming the defences of the port facilities as a tactic.
    That could be called swarming.

    And btw, calling a camp like the one they live in a jungle, is quite common.
    Tramps and hobos in the USA have traditionally used it.

  4. Doc Martin

    ‘Swarm’ can be a noun or a verb – it is not an adjective.

  5. Matt Booth

    LFF, it is wrong to try and justify the illegal immigrants in Calais. Stop it. You’re bringing this good left thinking site into disrepute.

    Those people cannot be seeking asylum, nor be in any danger, as they are in France, for fuck sake. If they wish to emigrate to the UK, they need to apply like everyone else.

    Sneaking in and doing what they’re doing is fucking repugnant and they do not deserve sympathy.

Comments are closed.