Thursday 23 April 2015

"A sign of success"

It ended with an election feature on immigration, beginning with a report from former TUC-economics-advisor-turned-Newsnight-economics-guru Duncan Weldon. It clearly spun a strong pro-immigration line.

It began, however, as more and more BBC reports do, by including 'vox pops' - ordinary, Gillian Duffy types - some expressing reservations, some being positive about immigration. 

This, despite all the polling evidence to the contrary, allowed Duncan to claim that "public opinion is nuanced". 

Duncan continued, "....[the view, however, of] business is fairly clear".

He followed that statement with his first 'expert' talking head - a lady called Katya from the CBI - saying that immigration has been a big help to the economy, keeping "the wheels of the recovery working". It's "really important", in a good way, for us, she said. 

Duncan continued, "It's often said that immigrants are coming over here and taking our jobs, but that isn't necessarily the case."

Cue Duncan suggesting that immigrants not only take jobs Brits don't want but that by doing so they create jobs British people do want to take up. 

"Most academic surveys have concluded that there isn't actually a link between British unemployment and immigration", he added.

On wages, however, he said, things are "more nuanced" and there's "academic disagreement"...

...however, despite that, "there's broad agreement that the impact on the average is marginal". 

And as for those surveys claiming that lower earners are adversely hit while higher earners are least adversely hit by mass immigration, well, he said, "the effects are small, and those most likely to be hit are those most-recent migrants". 

It's "a sign of success" that people want to move here, continued Duncan, reassuringly.

Then it was on, briefly, to the failure of the outgoing government's 100,000 target. 

After all of which, Duncan pointed out, in his concluding remarks, that -"despite what the academic work suggests" - (ordinary numpties) some people still feel "uncomfortable" about this, feeling that it's about "more than just the numbers".

Now, it that wasn't a highly pro-immigration-biased BBC report then I'm Emily Maitlis! (And, for any doubters, I'm not Emily Maitlis).

And, talking of Emily Maitlis...

...the ostensibly balanced studio discussion following this report, featuring two on one side and two on the other..

....'vox pop' Rhys, who found his work being undercut by immigrants, and "shock jock" Jon Gaunt (as he was introduced by Emily) on the anti-immigration side v Magda, an immigrant and "wealth creator" (in Emily's words), and BBC presenter Bidisha (who Emily introduced to "help us get to the bottom of this") on the other...

...was 'unbalanced' by Emily's contributions, perceptibly favouring the latter side of the argument.

At least Jon Gaunt (in the brief time he got) managed, despite being interrupted and talked over by Emily, to protest that Duncan Weldon's report was "skewed" (the word of the day!) and a "party political broadcast on behalf of the Immigration Party".


P.S. Gaunty's own take on his appearance on Newsnight is a real treat, and very illuminating.

He hadn't seen Duncan's biased film in advance. Neither had any of the other guests. He felt that was discourteous of Ian Katz.

He was also disgusted that young Rhys was only paid his train fare and got nothing else for appearing, and that the BBC presenter/guest Bidisha basically called him (Rhys) a liar for talking about his experiences. He did think, however, that Emily somewhat looked out for him (something I didn't notice myself).

He said that Rhys was the only one to talk to him in the 'green room afterwards', given the icy cold atmosphere resulting from his comments about BBC bias - except for Emily, who told him off for mistaking BBC balance for bias before being made to admit (by Gaunty) that she hadn't seen Duncan's film in advance either.

Those comments about BBC had resulted, he said, in a collective 'bum-clenching' - except for the cameramen, who laughed.

Gaunty also noted that the programme didn't point out that the business of the pro-immigration Polish "wealth creator" is to provide specialist food for Polish immigrants, and he protested that Bidisha's BBC credentials - as a BBC radio presenter - weren't made clear enough, as well as wondering how those BBC credentials square with her open expression of strong pro-immigration views.

The whole thing is fascinating, so please give it a listen. 


  1. I'll stop laughing at these advocates and start listening when a group of businessmen write a letter espousing their support for bringing in loads of young, uneducated and unskilled Muslim men from the more troublesome third-world countries.

  2. Duncan Weldon nuanced that report to death didn't he?

    I'd say the interviewees were carefully UNbalanced. A vox pop can never outperform experienced media types and John Gaunt as pointed out in the introductions was an employer of immigrants, which makes him an odd choice to argue for the demerits of mass immigration.

    Bringing Rhys in also subtly focused the discussion on wage levels, which are an important part of the debate but not the only important element in the economic debate. Much more important are the effects of the unprecedented population growth requiring huge infrastructure expenditure and
    welfare expenditure on families with children and in particular the housing market where the rising cost of housing is depriving our citizens of the chance of obtaining decent accommodation at a reasonable price (and simultaneously requiring huge increases in expenditure on housing benefit). Another important area is low productivity - something which bedevils our economy as many economists note. I think that is closely linked to mass immigration and the creation of low paid service jobs: coffee houses, domestic service, pizza delivery, leaflet delivery and so on. If you didn't have mass immigration, many of these jobs simply would not exist, and they would not be dragging down our average productivity.

  3. "He felt that was discourteous of Ian Katz"

    lack of courtesy a bit of s snoring, boring trait from young Mr. Katz, like he gives an airborne fig.

    1. Just listened to the podcast.

      Interesting format. One I considered in my line, but can't see it working as it really demands committed attention I suspect few would have. Plus there are no juicy transcript quotes to share.

      Anyway, no, I don't think he will be getting an invite back anytime soon from Mr. Ian Katz. Didn't sound like he cared.

      You summarise his (mostly good) points well on the conduct of the Newsnight elite, especially all the dodges we now know too well, such as ex-staff from clearly partial quarters masquerading as 'expert' commentators.

      Glad I stayed to the end, as I thought he laid bare the arrogance of a force-funded BBC vs. folk who have to sustain their operations the old fashioned way, based on appealing to an audience (Newsnight tanking as much as Victoria Derbyshire's new 'vehicle', yet dripping with cash to blow on lord knows what).

      He also reminded me of what a shambles OFCOM is. It still amazes that so many see them as this sage, impartial body, when in fact they are simply another public sector quango designed to look after the status quo.

      Funny he's using the European Court of Human Rights to mess with that cosy old boys' club.

      And yet they are cited as the 'solution' to oversight the BBC Trust can be passed on to.


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