Sunday, 1 May 2016

Health warning

This week's More or Less on Radio 4 returned to the EU referendum issue and talked about the (mass) immigration figures missing from George Osborne and the Treasury's heavyweight/dodgy dossier about the dangers of leaving the EU.

Curiously, it didn't do so in a noticeably debunking spirit - even though it was obvious from what we heard that the Treasury report had been economical with the actualité (as they say in Brussels).

As he has been doing for some time, Jonathan Portes of the NIESR pointed out the mysterious discrepancies between the official figures for EU migration to the UK and the vastly larger NI numbers appearing in the records. Has EU immigration to the UK been vastly underestimated?

'It's hard to know' was the conclusion, but there's probably been something of an underestimate.

The latter part of the segment then turned to the possible consequences of that 'underestimate' - specifically the economic benefits and costs of immigration. Here Jonathan Portes of the NIESR pointed out the benefits and, at considerably less length, Matthew Pollard of Migration Watch pointed out some possible negatives.

So the immigration issue was covered, albeit - costs and benefits-wise - tilted strongly towards the pro-immigration side of the debate.

The thing that particularly struck me here though was the way More or Less introduced Matthew Pollard of Migration Watch. 

In contrast to Mr. Portes (introduced as "Jonathan Portes from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research") or, say, Madeleine Sumption from the (clealy pro-migration) Migration Observatory (who More or Less recently introduced as "Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory"), this is how Mr. Pollard was introduced:
I spoke to Migration Watch - a think tank that studies migration into the UK and has a clear position: that current levels of migration are completely unsustainable.
Would you ever get such a clear 'health warning' about a pro-migration think tank from a BBC programme? 

1 comment:

  1. Did they say "EU-funded" Migration Observatory? Because it is (by the usual roundabout route).

    "More or Less" is faux-factual. It has biases as big as those Mardell wears on his sleeve; as with the EU Referendum "Reality Check" on the website, they are better able to hide them owing to the format. It's called "hiding in plain sight" I think!

    Portes is avowedly and self-confessed as pro-migration on the basis of no real figures at all since he doesn't include real costs of UK migration such as English as a Second Language teaching in primary schools, increased prison population, increased security costs of policing Islamic terrorism, increased diabetes, the need for FGM clinics, costs of housing benefit and social housing etc. His argument appears to be that there can be no level beyond which mass immigration has a negative effect on the economy.