How many more anti-migrant Mail headlines can we take?

Scary numbers, weak ministers, migrant babies: the Daily Mail pulls out all the stops in today's hatefest


Rhetorical questions can be a risky way of arguing – someone can always chime in with an unwanted answer.

The Daily Mail fearlessly trudges ahead anyway with today’s front page:


Daily Mail 28 8 15

If the Mail means asylum seekers and refugees, the answer would be, ‘Quite a lot more, actually’. Asylum claims in Germany outnumber Britain 27 to 1, with Germany expecting 800,000 applications by the end of the year. They seem to think they can cope.

The headline, you will notice, is not in quotation marks. Though it could be seen as a paraphrase of a quote from Sir Gerald Howarth, it is really the voice of the Mail itself.

Because yet again the Mail chooses to make an argument in place of reporting the news – the argument being, ‘We’ve got too many, and we can’t take any more’.

This line is implicit in the report, which begins:

“The true scale of the immigration crisis facing this country was laid bare last night as damning figures revealed net migration had surged to a record 330,000 – a rise of 40 per cent in one year.

It is a humiliating blow to David Cameron after his ‘no ifs, no buts’ pledge to reduce the number to ‘tens of thousands’.

Incredibly, yesterday’s figures do not include illegal immigrants in the UK, estimated at 1.1 million.

Many will now head to Calais to join those trying to sneak into Britain.”

It then conflates even more issues to create a picture of terrifying numbers swamping the country. That’s when Sir Howarth pops up to warn of the strain on public services these aliens bring.

The Mail’s editorial uses all this as a stick to beat David Cameron’s government, trashing its ‘abject failure’ to get immigration under 100,000 per year. They call for Cameron to get tough, musing: ‘Or is that under-100,000 ‘ambition’ merely hot air, to be wafted around at election time? If so, don’t expect voters to believe the Tories again.’

This is rich coming from a paper which colluded with the Tories to spin this ‘failure’ before the general election, to ensure UKIP-minded readers ‘come home’!

And it was ten years ago, in 2010, not this year, that Cameron said of his immigration pledge: ‘If we don’t deliver our side of the bargain, kick us out in five years.’ To turn it round on the Mail, does the paper only advice people to punish Tory failures between elections?

It being the Mail, things have to get creepy. Enter the migrant babies:

“Add the fact that 27 per cent of babies born in the UK in the year to March had migrant parents, and we are experiencing an unprecedented upheaval in the make-up of a country once united by ties of language, history, creed and patriotism.”

Actually, most people in this country speak English along with other languages, and their history – past and present – is rather tied up with our own. Migrants from western Europe will likely be Christian, (assuming ‘creed’ is intended to mean religion, and not simply stand in for race), and Muslims polled are often more proud to be British than the average non-Muslim Brit. (See this report in, er, the Daily Mail.) So there’s your patriotism.

Meanwhile, as the Mail buckles under the strain of incoming migrants, people are drowning off the coast of Libya and suffocating in vans in Austria to flee war and destitution.

Given this context, it’s petty and parochial and inhuman for the Mail to report on migration as a threat to ‘proper’ Brits.


Coverage like this is why MediaWatch has launched a petition calling on the Mail to publish a comment piece by a migrant. You can sign the petition here.

You can also support MediaWatch’s campaign against press demonization of migrants by donating here. Thanks.

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

DONATE to support MediaWatch here.

Read more: 

Why does the Mail like some Afghan asylum seekers more than others?

Daily Mail accuses France of ‘sabotage’ for giving beds to Calais migrants

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