IN THIS morning’s newspapers, you pay your money and take your ideological pick when it comes to migration. Or don’t pay your money and scan the headlines online. I now shell out a fiver a month for the privilege with one of the newspapers below and personally wouldn’t part with a penny for a free lifetime supply of the other. Which is which? Oh, go on, have a guess.
The Daily Express adopts its accustomed pro-Brexit, anti-foreigner, sod-the-rest-of-the-world stance with a front-page headline: “Call for new migrant freeze.” This is another piece of the pro-Brexit propaganda we are used to from the Express, which goes red, white and blue in the face shouting about how brilliant life will be once we have left Europe. What they will write about after it really happens is a mystery. The weather probably, which in Express world is always about to be as hot or cold as hell, rather than boringly in between in the true British manner.
The Express front page is a cry for Brexit to mean no more foreigners, or at the least only 50,000 a year, with a ban on unskilled migrants. This is proposed by the Brexit-supporting Leave Means Leave, a Tory pressure group headed by Dominic Raab, who was shuffled away from his job as justice minister by Theresa May when she swiped the keys to Number Ten.
Joining the Leave-Leavers on the front page of the Express is Migration Watch, which backs the call. This single-issue pressure group has been dipping migration in a negative pot of paint for years now, and its findings are rarely what you could call without bias.
Over in the Guardian – loved by some, hated by others, even some who used to love it – more sober analysis suggests that asylum seekers are distributed around Britain by disproportionately housing them in poor, Labour-voting areas in the north of England, Wales and Glasgow.
MPs contacted by the paper have labelled this as “appalling”, “dreadfully designed” and “a deeply unfair shambles”. By sifting through Home Office data, the Guardian calculates that more than half of all asylum seekers (57%) live in the poorest third of the country, while the richest third houses only 10% of all asylum seekers. And if that sounds to you like Mrs Maybe’s lot keeping the asylum seekers as far out of sight as possible, it’s hard not to agree.
Germany, on the other hand, is said to operate a scrupulously fair system based on the “population size and wealth of each region”.
When reading this I felt, not for the first time, that the Germans seem to have become more fair-minded than we are. Sadly, the way things are going we are hardly likely to get more fair in our thinking. Rather the opposite, especially if the Express has its way.