Sunday 24 June 2018

The i-word

Yes, it's that time again!...

Today's The World This Weekend discussed the migrant crisis in light of the EU summit about it and the "hard" policy of what Mark Mardell called the "newly militant" Italian government. 

It wasn't too biased (and Mark even used the i-word ['illegal'] once), but:

(a) The main report featured two pro-migration 'experts' (including Leonard Doyle) and a pro-migration Spanish socialist MEP 'balanced' by an anti-migrant figure from Italy's Lega, and the main interview was with a UN official.

(b) It was striking that the idea of placing migrants in camps around the Mediterranean, including across North Africa, was rubbished by successive speakers and that the BBC's Kevin Connelly said there were "ethical" issues as far as placing them in North Africa is concerned. 

(c) Mark Mardell twice made a point of stating that the number of migrants has fallen drastically since the height of the crisis, making it sound as if there's no longer a numbers problem. Each time he asserted that it's no longer a migration crisis but a political crisis:
  • "Illegal migration into the European Union has, in fact, fallen dramatically by 95% since its height in 2015. So it's not so much a migration crisis as a political crisis about migration."
  • "Again, it's an interesting point. The problem is going down in terms of numbers but up in terms of political salience." 
(d) It was also striking the difference in tone and content between one interview and the rest of the interviews. If you want to hear this for yourselves just listen to how Mark Mardell interviewed the man from the UN and compare that with how he interviewed the man from the League. I think it's undeniable that the tone was significantly softer with the man from the UN. 

As I say, it could have been worse.

P.S. The other piece was a report by the mighty Hugh Sykes from Turkey. As with other BBC reports I've seen in recent days it focused on the growing strength of the opposition to President Erdogan there. These reports have raised the possibility than an upset is possible. The thought has kept crossing my mind though that, despite all of this, that President Erdogan will probably win again - and by a far larger margin than these reports suggest.

That was only based on a gut instinct and the fact that these things hardly ever seem to go the way BBC reporters seem to think they'll go. The early results of the count are suggesting a landslide for Erdogan. So much for Hugh Sykes, it seems....though the gap is tightening. (Will I be cracking open a bottle of Turkish wine - not that I have one - and toasting Hugh after all?) 

1 comment:

  1. I've been looking at the EU figures, and I think that claim of Mardell is fake news. The claim was:

    "Illegal migration into the European Union has, in fact, fallen dramatically by 95% since its height in 2015."

    See this report:

    QUOTE The European Union saw in 2017 the lowest number of detected illegal border-crossings since the migrant crisis began four years ago, the EU border agency Frontex said on Tuesday.

    "The annual total of 204,700 marked a significant decrease compared to recent years, but not yet a return to the situation before 2014," the Warsaw-based agency said, upon releasing a new report based on figures provided by EU member states.

    It amounted to a 60 percent decline from the 511,000 illegal border-crossings in 2016, and far below the 1.8 million in 2015, according to the report. END QUOTE

    That suggests the decline from 2015 (the high point) to 2017 was more like 85%, not 95%.

    But of course Mardell said "illegal migration" whereas these figures refer to detected cases of illegal. In other words, the EU, like the UK government refuses to estimate the amount of undetected illegal migration, despite all the big data at their command.

    There is of course a huge difference between 2015 and 2017. In 2015 Merkel had virtually invited in migrants, so they had no reason to disguise their transit. In 2017, with the welcome being much more frosty many more would be migrants have reason to hide in lorries, cars, ships, vans, on coaches and trains etc. Once they get to the country of their choice, there is a roaring trade done in forged documents but also genuine documents (eg passports) that allow the illegal migrant to get themselves established.

    For all anybody knows the number of undetected migrants might have increased 50% over the same period but that is not being factored in.


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