The audacity of distraction

On the day when the unemployment figures surpass those of any time since “things could only get better”, the BBC have found the perfect story to fill the space and relegate jobs to a lower position on their UK news webpage: racism in Belfast. Normally this would be somewhere tucked into the N. Ireland backwater pages, but somehow this time it’s really critical.

What was fascinating, as I took a glance at the ONS June update on employment was a rather startling figure concerning employment of “British borns” versus overseas workers. I don’t pretend to be able to contextualise this thoroughly, but it does bring perspective on the Romanians in Belfast story. Here goes:

“The number of UK born people in employment (not seasonally adjusted) was 25.28 million in the three months to March 2009, down 451,000 from the three months to March 2008. The number of non-UK born people in employment (not seasonally adjusted) was 3.81 million, up 129,000 fromthe three months to March 2008.”

Needless to say, this was not in the BBC report on the jobs news, which was stuffed with “not as bad as expected” voices.

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69 Responses to The audacity of distraction

  1. backwoodsman says:

    Having absolutely no knowledge of N I , I confess my first thought was, why are there a hundred Romanian families in Belfast ?
    Were they expatriates working there, were they tourists , had they bought holiday homes and retired there ? Are they gypsies (presumably ?)
    Why is one always left with the suspicion that the bbc is trying to project an angle or distort every story !


  2. James Simpson says:

    The Belfast story is revealing about the BBC mindset. It is very clear that the families in Belfast are ethnically Gypsies, but the corporation will not mention this term because the rulebook tells them this is prejudicial. There have been many complaints from Romanian organisations who say as far as the BBC is concerned the only Romanians that exist are Roma Gypsies – almost all their stories about Romania and Romanians are in fact about a migrant group that make up less than 10% of the population there, a migrant population who travel around throughout Europe and whose nationality is temporary.

    The point I'm driving at is this. Imagine CNN only ran stories about Britain that involved Pakistani Muslims and their various activities. What kind of impression would you get about the country? For the BBC, the Roma Gypsies perfectly fulfil their agenda as an 'oppressed' minority in search of their rights against a 'racist' majority.


  3. PatD says:

    Nothing to do with the BBC I admit but in the local Plymouth paper today there is a half page report on a 59 year old Portugese man who has been in the city for four years complaining that he is among 300 people being 'unjustly' laid off from a yacht builders – you have to wonder about the other 299.


  4. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    No-one in Europe has anything good to say of the Romanians: their main exports seems to be pickpockets, shoplifters and organised beggars. Whoever thought to let them through the door into Europe needs their head examined.


  5. Allan@Aberdeen says:

    Rumania becomes part of borederless Europe and we see the results. Now what can one say of the mentality of people who still want Turkey to be allowed into the EU?


  6. Roland Deschain says:

    My first thought this morning when hearing the story was "What is the BBC not telling me?". There must be some underlying reason why these people are being picked on rather than any other minority, but the article made no attempt to explain it.

    Having said that, a quick search on other sources didn't seem to deal with that side of matters either, so it may be unfair to blame just the Beeb.


  7. pounce_uk says:

    Just watching the bBC news coverage on the biggest story in the UK today when they drag up Martin McGuinness who opines somewhat about how this episode of hate is bad.
    what the bBC seems to omit is that under the stewardship of McGuinness the IRA ran a campaign of ethnic cleansing in County Fermanagh for years hey it doesn't excuse the behavior of a buntch of idiots ut isn't this the same as what is happening to these Romanian immigrants.

    Just for the info I spent 3 wonderful years in the province and not once did anybody tell me to go home.


  8. Dave says:

    Racism in Northern Ireland? Shurely not!
    Now that the loyalists and provos have stopped firebombing each other they've ganged up on the gyppos.

    A slow news day then


  9. George R says:

    In the meantime, Gordon Brown and the BBC believe that racism against white people does not exist in Britain, and so is not specifically highlighted and condemned by them:

    BBC report-

    "PM condemns Romanian hate attacks".

    But reports, and even more rare, condemnations, of racial attacks on white people, in e.g., Keighley, Yorkshire, are largely avoided by BBC.


  10. dave s says:

    This story is almost the perfect example of a BBC agenda driven story.
    I watched the 1pm news. It managed to suggest that the persecuters of the Romanian gipsies, not described as such by the BBC, were almost certainly the Protestant rather than the Catholic people of Belfast.
    It did not ask any serious questions as to why the gipsies were in Belfast.
    Were they working or what?
    It seemed to want only to portray a section of the population as racist- the greatest crime in the liberal world view.
    It also managed to push the rise in unemployment down the page where every good little BBCer wants it to stay lest it reflects badly upon the great leader.
    Seldom does the BBC show it's hand so openly.


  11. cassandra says:

    As usual with the BBC comrades you get a one sided view of the east european roma immigrants and nothing from the native inhabitants that actually have to live alongside them!

    The roma are pure hell to live near, they are hated and despised back in their homelands for a good reason, the BBC however choose to give no context whatsoever only focusing on the roma as poor victims.

    The roma are expert benefit fiddling criminals, their whole ethos is one of a ruthless insular criminal gang culture, begging/pickpocketing/theft/mugging
    /drug dealing/prostitution, you name it and they are into it.
    The roma are ruthless and cruel to the extreme, Italy has suffered greatly with crime up in the 100% range.

    The aim of splitting native comunities by introducing these roma gangs is breathtakingly stupid and perhaps even a poisonous attempt to split loyalist areas apart by enforced immigration of those who will always be nothing but a growing drain on scarce local resources.

    To all those hand wringing mugs who may throw up their lilly white hands in shock at my post, try living near a roma gang for a couple of weeks and I promise you that you will come to realise just what I am talking about!


  12. Rob says:

    I was listening to little Nikki Campbell's phone in on this topic this morning. By some mistake, the final caller was an indignant Romanian woman called Carmen, who pointed out that these people were Roma, who just happened to have Romanian passports. I knew they had to be Roma, but wondered if anyone at MiniTru would ever mention it.

    The reason the Roma left Romania to settle in Northern Ireland is that we have a cushy welfare state. In Romania they get treated like scum, here we give them benefits. I can't blame them, if I was a Roma and the British government was daft enough to let me in, I'd come. Only in Beebland could anyone begin to wonder why this might possibly stir up a teensy bit of resentment amongst the local people.


  13. Philip says:

    Classic BBC behaviour. Nothing like a 'racism' story to help them out.

    Interesting also is the question of just why we appear to be importing unemployed Roma Gypsies wholesale into Britain, particulaly from other EU countries. What is going on here?

    They're not what you'd call well-treated in their home countries but I spend a lot of time in South Eastern Europe and they are hardly persecuted to the point of requiring asylum, either.

    Additonally, I don't know if this was just me, but did anyone else feel they did the same thing yesterday with the 'Internet Tax' non-story?

    They took something that was hardly a glimmer in someone's report (and not something that was particularly important anyway) and promoted it to the top story at the expense of the massively important events going on in Iran.


  14. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Martin McGuinness knows a thing or two about bricks through windows and scaring "defenseless babies" out of their homes. Good to see him express his concern. "It really does shake your humanity." Priceless.

    But what a load of crap to call them "Romanians". Maybe that's what it says on their passport, but I bet ethnic Romanians don't think they're part of the family. And what's this? Michael McGimpsey, Health Minister, refers to them as "Roma". Which means they most likely left Romania to escape racism.

    The thing is, It's disingenuous to pretend that they're not Roma. In fact, I would say that it's actually racist to hide this fact. Do the politicians and the Beeboids think that if they admit that these people are Roma that the public will not respond favorably? Poor Roma, victims of racism from the BBC, who are so embarrassed they can't even admit the ethnicity of victims of violence.

    I also like how the Mark Simpson presents this is as "Romanians" who were totally aware of Belfast's history of racism, and made some sort of educated decision about why and when they moved there. so they could move there. After all, the appeal of Northern Ireland amongst "Romanians" is well known, but the racist bastard loyalists made it inhospitable for years.

    The more I think about it, the more it becomes clear what a travesty it is for the BBC – never mind any idiotic PC pols or public advocates – to deliberately hide the fact that these people are Roma. I mean, think of the irony: Roma escape racism in Romania (sorry, don't blame me for the alliteration), seek a safe haven in NI, only to become the victims of racism again. Because they hide the truth, they miss out on a great – and more genuine – angle on the story. Nice job, BBC editors.

    But they can't say it. The Beeboids can't call them Roma because the Beeboids themselves are racist. What a joke.


  15. cassandra says:

    Oooh the sick irony of McGuiness on TV whinging about the treatment of the roma gangs when the PIRA was only too happy to murder loyalist and catholic children by the hundred, shooting unarmed men in front of their children and then peddling the myth that the perverted killers were f*****g heroes!

    If the ex PIRA terrorist is so keen on the roma gangs then why doesnt he invite them into a catholic/republican area? ooooh yes its fine for them to be dumped in a loyalist area but when it comes right down to it Mcguiness and his mob wouldnt touch the roma gangs with a barge pole and wouldnt invite them to share the scarce public housing in republican areas, even if they moved into a republican housing estate they would be moving out within a few hours nursing more than a few broken kneecaps.


  16. Anonymous says:

    I can't remember the BBC going big on this following story about Hungarian gypsies last month. I suppose it just doesn't have the same left wing agenda appeal to it…

    A MAJOR police alert was sparked after up to 40 Hungarian and Pakistani yobs brandishing machetes and knives clashed in Ravensthorpe.

    Tuesday’s disturbances mirrored what happened last summer when Iraqis and Pakistani youths clashed in Ravensthorpe and Savile Town.

    Locals said the trouble then was caused by Asian girls being pestered for sex by the Iraqi Kurds. During a week of tensions, riot police were called to deal with running battles between rival gangs armed with baseball bats and other weapons.

    One man, a Kurd, was badly beaten and suffered head injuries.

    This week’s disturbance has led to fears that violence may escalate again and Coun Khizar Iqbal, in charge of community safety at Kirklees Council, said: "This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and I will be talking to the police to make sure there is no repeat of what happened last year."

    Coun Iqbal (Con, Dewsbury South) said that the make-up of the Ravensthorpe community may need to be looked at.

    "We have different groups of people coming into Ravensthorpe and the dispersal scheme is run by national government, not local councils.

    "This is a sensitive issue but we often don’t know who is coming in and from where but it can disrupt settled communities. However we cannot tolerate this kind of aggravation."
    Tensions boiled over in the multi-racial community on Tuesday night amid claims that an Asian girl was "touched" by the Hungarians.

    The rival gangs clashed in Spen Valley Road and one resident said: "The Hungarians just decided to go to war."

    A 36-year-old man from Ravensthorpe and a 39-year-old from Huddersfield suffered slight head injuries and a number of weapons were recovered by police.

    Mr Burman said grown Hungarian men were chasing young Asians with machetes and knives. "That’s why it was so bad," he said. "It kept going quiet and flaring up again. It is at night when it is worst.

    Mass-immigration, eh? Don't you just love it!


  17. pounce_uk says:

    I have the bBC news on at the moment. It is now 1615 and since 1600hrs the bBC has been running with this story.

    Is this story really this big.
    (The news admits it is just small gangs of youths carrying out these attacks)
    or is the bBC hiding something else. Say like the unemployment

    It is now 16.19.
    19 minutes on a non story. Sorry try asking the Non Muslim residents of Saville town how they are treated.


  18. DrummermanPaul says:

    Typical left-wing/'liberal' 'do as I say, not as I do' behaviour. Jim Naughtie gets to pontificate and moralise about how bad other people's behaviour is, and how someone, i.e. the government, needs to do something about it, all the while being paid.

    If he really cared they'd invite some of these Romas to come and live with him, or he'd give some of his vast salary to fund them to find nice accommodation, or he'd spend his time organising a charity on their behalf.

    But he won't do any of these things because it's so much nicer, and easier, to feel righteous and hmane and caring on someone else's nickel ….



  19. pounce_uk says:

    JUst for the info how many people have heard of this racist attack

    Couple beaten in road rage attack

    better coverage here;


  20. Richard says:

    pounce_uk said…
    'JUst for the info how many people have heard of this racist attack'

    Except Pounce it quite clearly states at the bottom of the Yorkshire Post article :-

    'Det Insp Duggan said although the attackers were Asian, there was nothing to suggest the incident was racially motivated.'

    Did you even read it?


  21. David Preiser (USA) says:


    Naughtie's a racist, and he thinks you are too. He keeps calling them "Romanians" instead of "Roma", which is their ethnicity (or race, if one is a racialist). The Belfast advocate referred to them as "Roma", they call themselves "Roma", yet the BBC can't.

    "Roma" is not a pejorative. Why does the BBC hide this? Is it because they think you're a racist and won't care so much if you know they're Roma and not "Romanians"?

    By referring to them as "Romanian", the BBC is not only denying these people their ethnic heritage, but implying that you're a racist.


  22. Boy Blue says:

    Move the Gypsies …err I mean Romanians….to that nice little village in Sussex which Dimbleby lives in. Let the chattering classes actually physically demonstrate their moral superiority over us ignorant plebs for once.


  23. Gladys Pew says:

    Richard, If the attack had been the otehr way round and the victims an elderly Asian couple you can be sure that the racial aspect of the offence would be to the forefront.


  24. archduke says:

    from scanning a few irish blog comments, it appears that these Roma are responsible for begging , pickpocketing and thievery in Belfast. the general sense i'm seeing is "good riddance"

    of course the bbc will never give you this sort of background – like WHY the attacks occured?


  25. Martin says:

    I had to laugh this morning when our favourite Queen of breakfast radio Nikki Campbell did the phone in about racism. We got the usual left wing anti English crap from our friends in the north.

    but what the queen of breakfast forgot to point out in his usual rants about 'multi culturalism' was that America is the worlds great melting pot, yet you don't see the racial tension there or hatred from the immigrant population that we get here. Why not?

    Well here's a thought. In America people are taught to respect the flag, respect the office of President, value freedom and seek to improve one's lot in life. Just about the exact opposite of what the wet liberals at the BBC and the Labour party want.


  26. George R says:

    Awaiting the BBC's profound approval; no doubt the BBC is planning several tv and radio series on the subject:

    'Telegraph' today:

    "Schoolchildren to be taught about why gipsies are misunderstood.
    "Children could be forced to spend a month at school learning about gipsies and travellers at a cost of thousands of pounds to the taxpayer.

    "A 'diversity' panel at Sandwell Council in the West Midlands want to introduce a gipsy awareness month, which would be combined with a leaflet drop of 'myth busting' facts about traveller communities.

    "From September 2010 all youngsters will have a month of classes to teach them about how gipsy's and travellers are misunderstood."


  27. Martin says:

    Oh god, the BBC have got that twat Jeremy Bowen spouting on about Iran now.

    He really is talking bollocks.


  28. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Not been updated for a few years now but gives you a taste of what's what:

    Possibly those Romanians have seen the error of their ways, turned over a new leaf, gone straight, err, or perhaps not. Our government must have known what they were dealing with, Europe's scum.

    Or perhaps these hundred have found good honest steady employment, refused benefits because they are proud people, taken out large mortages, and put their many children down for private schools and healthcare so as not to be a burden on our generosity. And is that a Union Jack I see in their broken windows?


  29. pounce_uk says:

    Richard thank you for reply. As a matter of fact I did read it. You see the typical response to any coloured on white attack wasn’t racist, yet if anybody dares look funny at anybody with dark skin then it is a racist attack.
    Now, please be so kind as to illuminate to the great unwashed when there was an actual racist attack on a white person in the Uk as reported by the bBC. Silly me I’d have more luck getting Griffin putting money in a Romanian woman’s hand as she begs on the Underground.

    My point. By hiding any black/brown racist attacks on whites the political elites cause racism. Unlike 90% of the British population I can't hide my skin colour.


  30. Martin says:

    BBC 6PM news was so far up Labours backside. Playing down the unemployment figures. ITV news was damming of the Government. Unemployment was story one and got a lot of airtime.


  31. Jean Schumacher says:


    Funny that many Europeans think that the only thing Britain exports now are suicide bombers, football hooligans, and the BNP. Most of us would be very happy to see racists like yourself isolated on your little island.


  32. Martin says:

    Actually we are the biggest exporter of Muslim terrorists. As I've pointed out before Obama would be better off taking out Bradford or Leeds than Helmand with a few Predator Drones. He'd certainly kill more terrorists.


  33. David Vance says:

    Well then, I guess I am well located to comment on this. WHY are there SO many Romanians in this part of Belfast? Simple – welfare tourism. Elements within the media are out to use this as means to have a go at the police but the friction has at its root cause, unfettered immigration and a political establishment which cowers and rewards terror groups like the UDA.


  34. David Preiser (USA) says:

    David Vance,

    Please don't continue the BBC's racist and elitist editorial policy and deny the Roma their heritage.


  35. Anonymous says:

    Coach loads of Roma arrive in Britain nearly every day. The government claimed that Romanians and Bulgarians would require a work permit. The reality is that most of the Roma people arrive and head for the local council and claim they are destitute. The council then has to house them. Whilst I deplore racism it is nevertheless obvious to anyone with a functioning brain cell that this would result in problems. I will give you one example of my extensive dealings with Roma which pretty much goes to the heart of the problem. I had to remove a family of Roma gypsies back in the good old days before Romanians were allowed into the EU. The extended family were all asylum claimants and none of them had jobs. Yet when they were departing the uk (at public expense naturally) they were searched by Customs and found to have £30,000 in cash on their person. Unsurprisingly they were unable to account for their ill gotten gains and it was seized under the proceeds of crime act. Given that most of the family had at some time or other come to the attention of the police this seemed quite reasonable.


  36. archduke says:

    this story has all the hallmarks of Common Purpose.

    lets be honest with ourselves – would YOU think its a good idea to locate Roma Gipsys in a city that has had DECADES of sectarian violence and terrorism?

    common sense would say no.

    so in my view there is an ulterior motive in all of this.

    demonising the police is clearly one of the objectives.


  37. archduke says:

    if anything – this belfast episode clearly shows that the UK has lost all control over immigration policy.

    if YOU were "immigration minister" would YOU think it was a good idea to locate Roma Gipsies into the seething cauldron of sectarian Belfast? a city that still has its own Berlin Wall separating Catholic and Protestant.

    clearly any sane UK minister would say no to that and exempt Belfast from any such policy.


  38. Tweed says:

    I live in Northern Ireland. When you see the Roma children think "begging props". They beg in organised gangs around Belfast city centre,"any change pleeese", often with young children and babies beside them. Some also hold single copies of the irish version of Big Issue to legitimise their begging. They have also intimidated the competition, local homeless people, many of whom have mental health problems.
    My understanding is that the attacks were the work of a few yobs, certainly not worthy of the self-righteous hand wringing seen on the beeb.

    PS – anyone witness the "god of righteous" anger who has taken the earthly form of Mr Jon Snow on Ch 4 tonight? What a turd.


  39. d says:

    It may be that there are people in Northern Ireland who's hobby it is to racially intimidate immigrants (but I doubt it), the BBC hopes this is the case as it gives them a chance to condem them and at the same time point the finger at anyone who voted BNP. It is more likely that the Romainian immigrants were treated reasonably until they ruffled feathers by taking houses , jobs or committing crime. Ordinary people do not want to live in a multicultural paradsie because they are the ones who are disadvantaged by it.


  40. Tim says:

    There is no PC way of putting this.

    The Roma are a walking crimewave – period.

    I have just returned from working in Kosice, Eastern Slovakia and they are the scurge of society there.

    Sorry but this is just the truth. They teach their children to beg and steal, rather than goto school.

    Incidently, we observed many British registered cars in that region and on enquiring, they belong to The Roma, who have usually stolen them.

    Many of them claim benifits in the UK, but still reside in Slovakia.

    These are facts – not racism.


  41. David H says:

    My own direct experience of Romanians (not Roma as far as I knew) was through trying to do business with them in the 1980's – they came over on a visit to my factory, promised orders, ripped us off in every imaginable way and left us with a huge hotel bill for `extras'. It turned out that the promised orders were illusory. I'm not saying that this would apply to every inhabitant of Romania, let alone the Roma but you tend to go on your own experiences!


  42. Liam says:

    I suspect that this story has got prominance on the back of the BNP victories, not your own prejudices.


  43. archduke says:

    and sure enough , i manage to dig up a link about Common Purpose in Belfast

    over here

    from february 2008


  44. David Preiser (USA) says:


    Is that why the BBC is denying the Roma their heritage by calling them "Romanian"? Is that really the proper way to encourage multiculturalism and discourage racism?


  45. archduke says:

    i wonder if this has anything to do with the BNP announcing a Belfast call centre and their website a few weeks ago.

    as in – the BNP are organising in Northern Ireland – and are specifically stating OUTRIGHT that they are non-sectarian.

    well a British nationlist party that is non-sectarian? that wont go down too well with the DUP and Sinn Fein will it?

    BNP have also just realised this statement condemning the attack;

    obviously they know that something is up with the screaming BBC "racist" headlines.


  46. John Horne Tooke says:

    "Funny that many Europeans think that the only thing Britain exports now are suicide bombers, football hooligans, and the BNP. Most of us would be very happy to see racists like yourself isolated on your little island."

    And most of us would like to see the back of these despicable people you mention.

    I notice you say "Europeans" – do you mean the anti-democratic type? The same people who think that no country should govern themselves. Do you also want people in the Netherlands to be resticted to their "little country" or what about the Austrians do you want the same for them and not to mention the French who has Le Penn who gets more support than the BNP?

    If the Austrians or Dutch or French had the same type of media that we have you would be tarring them with the same brush too no doubt.

    I find your comments on this country offensive, but racism of that type is accepted in liberal anti-democratic circles.


  47. Allan@Aberdeen says:

    Follow Archduke's link through Common Purpose in NI and check the sub-links and the total and utter BS of it all. This subversive organisation and its treacherous director, one Julia Middleton – marxist, are gorging themselves from the public trough. But I also found that the corporatist private sector (Shell, BP) are sending their people to Common Purpose for 'training'. Indeed Archduke is almost certainly right: Common Purpose (CP for short – geddit?) is behind this nonsense and the BBC is part of Common Purpose.


  48. Boy Blue says:

    Weren’t there riots in Naples and Rome a few months back because the locals got fed up with Gypsies being dumped on their communities, and the subsequent problems it caused?

    Did the BBC ever report it at the time?

    Western governments appear to be deliberately trying to provoke trouble amongst their own people. They really are asking for a kicking.


  49. archduke says:

    boy blue has a point – dont look at the headlines.

    figure out WHY this is happening.


  50. Umbongo says:

    The BBC must have known these people were Roma since, had they been ethnic Rumanians, they would have been, at most, victims of xenophobia or – if they were Catholics – religious prejudice, not "racism". Ethnic Rumanians are, after all, descendants of the original Roman (= white Western European) settlers in what was once Dacia.

    Once I saw pictures of the victims it was obvious (to me anyway) that they were Roma – small of stature with dark eyes, sallow complexions, dark hair and (judging by the number of children in the group) with startling powers of reproduction. The BBC reporter tugged at our heartstrings by disclosing that one of the Rumanians was born just 5 days ago. Aaah – she's probably earned her first few pennies already from some generous resident of Belfast. Even so, not a murmur from any BBC correspondent about the victims' real racial background only that because they held Rumanian passports they were victims of "racialism". It was crassly bad journalism littered with ignorance and bias – the BBC "news" service in a nutshell.