'Vast tracts' of land needed for immigrants

The trouble with believing that the UK is being swamped by immigrants is that even when numbers are put in front of you demonstrating that this is hardly the case, you still cry close the borders and complain. Take today’s immigrant scare story for example: Britain faces fresh influx of immigrants as EU looks to ‘share out’ number of refugees. Immediately you can see from the page title and url that the story started out not being that scary (it started out as: ‘EU to set down guidelines on numbers of immigrants each European country should take’) then an editor picked up on this fact and turned it into another ‘immigrant influx’ story to get the readers going.

Perhaps the reason it wasn’t immediately given a scary headline was because the numbers don’t exactly fit in with the Daily Mail obsession that the UK is full to the brim with dark-skinned immigrants:

If the EU were to accept 20 per cent that would equate to 40,000 refugees a year. Britain’s share, based on population, would be about 5,300.

Around 5300 people, not really a massive amount over the course of a year, is it? However, I guess when we assume that all of them will be given swish houses and will never contribute anything to the country that has rescued them from who-know-what, any number is too many:

Who will take the burden from us? We already have more immigrants than we can handle.Why should we take immigrants from Africa etc anyway? They are not from the E U. If we continue to be the dumping ground of the world then we should stop giving handouts so freely to all who come here for our benefit system. Maybe we could offload a large number who are not true assylum seekers and the genuine ones should be made to work for their British cash.- sandra Page, chesterfield england, 2/9/2009 13:21

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I am really saddened by the majority of the comments posted under this article, and further saddened by the ratings that they have. Immigrants have been completely dehumanised by the tabloid press to the extent that they really are seen as being a vast ocean of nameless people on a jolly outing to reap mythical benefits from the ‘second-class indigenous citizens of the UK’ (paraphrased from another comment under the article). No one ever stops to question why it is that someone would flee the country of their birth to travel hundreds of miles to a strange, dark, wet and hostile country to be housed in slums, live on a pittance and to be constantly attacked by the media. No one ever stops to actually consider that these people are human beings, who may share the same simple hopes and desires as the rest of us. They might want to find love, start a family and have a career. They might already have a family and are seeking safety for them, something that may not exist in the country they are leaving.

The Daily Mail and other tabloids have consistently dehumanised immigrants, stealing the ability for their readers to show compassion or basic human decency towards others. Instead of empathy, understanding and acceptance immigrants are treated as invaders – evil, money-grabbing freeloaders who have made an active choice to come here. Immigrants or refugees in spite of everything are portrayed as being completely in control of their destiny, whilst the poor middle-class tabloid readers are constantly being told that they are at the mercy of a government and EU that is out to destroy them.

Everything is warped, truth becomes fiction, myth becomes reality; people become unable to see the reality beyond the sordid print of their newspapers. People never look up from their newspapers and try to imagine just what it must be like to leave your home, your country, everything you know because of factors beyond your control. Perhaps if they did, the world might be a better place.

The ‘vast tracts’ in the article title is reference to another comment under this article.

This article is also covered by Tabloid Watch who adds:

Britain has been one of only ten EU countries to take part in the scheme which has amounted to 2,500 over five years – so only 500 per year to the UK. In fact, the EU scheme has been designed to make resettlement easier and more efficient and should increase the countries taking refugees, thus sharing the burden.

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