I wrote this up while watching Nick Robinson’s “The Truth About Immigration”. After it was over, I rearranged a few things, but except for the last couple of paragraphs it was nearly all written as I watched. However, after having digested it for a minute, I think I can sum the whole thing up much more briefly.
Nick Robinson: How is it that a subject that was once taboo is now on every poltician’s lips? Why is it that the doors to Britain were flung open and what are the benefits and what are the perils of now seeking to close them?
Why is it now a major issue and what is the truth about immigration?
Shorter fisking: What Robinson covers is all old hat. See the BBC’s “White” Series for evidence that most of what he rehashes has been done before. In addition, everyone by now knows what Labour did and why. This is a dishonest discussion if one side of the issue is a strawman. Most people do not want to close the door, full stop. I suppose that makes for good TV, but it’s not honest.
What is the truth? Why is this issue now such a big deal that the BBC feels obligated to go over all this again? Aside from the obvious current event of Bulgarian and Roma(nian) immigration, Spot the missing murder of Lee Rigby with the murderer explaining himself on camera. Spot the missing no-go areas. Spot the missing imams preaching jihad. Spot the missing grooming gangs of Rochdale and Manchester. Spot the missing mass murders of 7/7. Spot the missing discussion about how the BBC got it wrong as well, which was part of Robinson’s statement to the Mail.
I think that about sums up the BBC’s approach to the truth.
Longer version, if anyone’s interested:
So we’re expected to believe that the BBC’s original Young Conservative is straying off the reservation, are we? Sorry, no.
It’s all a big deal now, we’re told. Illegal immigrants are being told to go home. Robinson emphasized “illegal”. And what, exactly, were illegal immigrants being told until this national conversation hit an all time high? Oh, sorry, wrong national debate. I was momentarily stunned by hearing a BBC journalist use the words “illegal” and “immigrants” in the same sentence. I’m just so used to hearing them censor that word in their dishonest reporting about the issue in the US.
Notice the footage Robinson chooses to accompany that line. The police are clearly approaching someone who has just snuck across the border. This is an entirely different topic than the real concerns about immigration in Britain. By conflating the two from the outset, Robinson has already muddied the waters. Whoops, that’s a racist comment these days, isn’t it?
Nick’s Big Question: Why is it now a major issue?
Answer: Anything except third-world extremely fundamentalist Muslims coming in en masse and setting up segregated enclaves and not only maintaining those extremely fundamentalist behaviors and refusing to integrate, but causing certain local problems and then being enabled by politicians, police, and a BBC willing to kowtow to any demand in the name of political correctness and to give two fingers to their political opponents, as well as because they’re afraid.
I hadn’t even watched seven minutes of this before I could see it’s mostly a load of tired old talking points, and would ultimately be a dishonest approach to the issue. If the issues Robinson presents as the main concerns weren’t already talked about enough to be well covered, why did the BBC do that whole “White” Series a few years ago? What was “The Poles Are Coming” about, then? It was a deliberate attempt to control the national debate on this issue, and to demonize those who thought it might be a problem. If it wasn’t already a well-known concern, why was Mrs. Duffy such a story? The BBC was just as quick to paint her as a racist as any politician was.
And what about “White Girl”? That particular facet of the immigration issue was entirely absent from Robinson’s supposed truth about it. And let’s not pretend it’s not the main reason immigration is a hotter topic than ever.
Nick Robinson and the BBC think you’re all stupid. We could tell from their reactions to public complaints about Mandelapalooza, and Evan Davis more recently gave DB a hint of it: they hold you in contempt, now more than ever.
Another question – in two parts – left unanswered: If so many immigrants were needed, as Robinson states, to fill all those jobs, how many British people were unemployed at the time and why are there so many more now? Secondly, why was unlimited immigration the answer instead of training the citizens? Surely there must be a difference in cost – on several levels – between the two options. As was evident from the “The Poles Are Coming” episode, the “lazy British” Narrative has become an immutable object at the BBC. Now they don’t even think it’s worth addressing. It’s a given. Not a single moment was spent asking about what to do with the unemployed youth in Britain.
(Side note to Nick Robinson and his producer: You really should have resisted the temptation to use the cute “boom and bust” reference there. It only highlighted how dishonest the BBC has been about that issue as well.
Other side note: I admit it’s nice to see Nick Robinson presenting politicians as being scheming and damaging rather than protecting and defending them, like he did for the Blair/Brown relationship or as the expenses scandal was at its height.)
I’ll grant that it’s good that Robinson got Labour politicians to admit how slimy they were on their policy, but if it’s just David Blunkett saying they were “on the side of the angels”, and Jack Straw saying Labour got it wrong, then the debate gets shifted to whether they were right or not, rather than how dishonest they were the entire time. Yvette Cooper was shown as trying to have it both ways, so nothing enlightening there, either.
Robinson, being of course ruled by the BBC’s requirement to remain impartial, leaves it there. For balance against three Labour politicians, two of whom essentially defended the policy without much reservation, we got Michael Howard. Oh, right, Robinson himself is supposed to count as being on the Right in this case, yeah.
The one saving grace of this entire hour was the part where Robinson showed non-white immigrants complaining about the same things that concerned the first round of complainers, meaning it can’t be called racist anymore. I know a couple people here have brought that up recently, and I imagine it would come as quite a shock to those who trust the BBC for their news on important issues. Unfortunately, it’s easy to predict that the BBC will forget all about that immediately and will be quickly back to calling it racist.
So David Cameron is putting a limit on “net immigraton” is he? How will that work out, Nick? No prizes for guessing. To make matters more pathetic, after going over the whole “We needed mass immigration to fill the jobs” theme, Robinson takes that to the next level to show that you need mass immigration to fill all those student slots at universities. Apparently, the university system will be economically threatened if you worry about the questionable student applicants and don’t let in enough proper ones.
Then we get to work permits. Um, what’s this about skills and the ability to speak English? Didn’t we meet some Eastern European kids who were picking strawberries and were told this is an example of the kind of jobs Britain vitally needs filling? Aren’t those the low-wage jobs lazy British young people won’t do, so limiting immigration to skilled workers will harm the economy? Of course that’s so, and Robinson is keen to tell you later on. He doesn’t have to come out and say it at this point, as that wouldn’t be, you know, impartial.
Then Robinson says that Cameron’s statement about allowing in skilled workers needed now (chefs in the shown example) – but he wants to train the next generation of home-grown workers – is a “blunt” message to stop hiring foreigners. Blah, blah, blah. This makes it all the more lame that Robinson didn’t flat out ask the practical question about training and unemployment I mentioned above.
Ultimately, Robinson tells us, immigration is a great net benefit to Britain. The only question now, apparently, is what’s the best plan to make it work more smoothly in future.
No. That’s not the question at all. Robinson asked at the start, why is this such a big deal now? He doesn’t dare touch the real answer.
I know why the BBC can’t touch the real answer. It’s because those of you who do want to shut the door (or at least put much more stringent limits than Cameron wants) want it shut mainly – and are talking about it more loudly than ever before, which is allegedly also what Robinson is meant to be investigating – because of the factors the BBC refused to address. So they just have to present that side of the argument as some phantasm. Everyone on camera is talking about limits, amd figuring out some common sense, not shutting it down, full stop. Yet Robinson frames that side of the argument in its extreme version. He and his producer know full well what they’re doing. This only makes it more galling that he avoided discussion of the BBC’s influence in the whole thing, after recently saying they made a “horrible mistake”.
This is a major public debate like never before because of things like the murder of Lee Rigby and the seemingly endless stream of stories about Muslim grooming gangs, not because a few Slovenians are picking strawberries for less than Wayne and Kaylee get on the dole. The primary reason it’s such a big deal now that even the BBC has to admit it is the reality of things like Tower Hamlets and Anjem Choudary, not Polish glass workers who moonlight as DJs and Bangladeshi students wearing the hijab at some hip university. That shot of the latter from the part where Robinson is discussing the need for students is almost like they’re taunting you. The only reason I’m noticing something subliminal is because I’ve been prepared to notice it. Perhaps they’re so far out of reality and intellectual honesty that they don’t realize what they’ve done.
Sure, Robinson at least briefly lays out the more general concerns along the way about too much pressure on communities and services, jobs, benefit migration, and people feel like they’re losing their own neighborhoods. But the only time Islam comes up is when he casually mentions that the Muslim population has rapidly doubled, as if it’s just another color in the rainbow.
If one thinks that the real reason unlimited immigration is such a hot-button topic right now is limited to jobs, then one will feel that Robinson has successfully opened the way for a more honest debate about the pros and cons of immigration. But it surely can’t be an honest debate if he reduces one side of the argument to some people wanting to “shut the door once again”. He doesn’t present anyone as saying they want the polar opposite of unlimited immigration, so why the reductio ad absurdum for only one side?
“Perhaps it’s time to have that open and frank discussion we’ve really never had.”
If only. And this documentary avoided that frank discussion at every turn. The BBC can now claim to have successfully addressed the issue, but they will only be lying to themselves, and to you. So where was the part where Robinson talked about how the BBC got it wrong? Where was the part where Robinson discussing how and why the BBC made a “horrible mistake” in suppressing concerns about unlimited immigration? The BBC has more influence on the national debate of every issue than any politician or political party could ever hope to achieve in their wildest dreams. Blaming politicians and I guess the media in general ignores the very real influence and deliberate policy the BBC had on the issue over the last decade, and still has now. This documentary is evidence of their desire to influence it.