Ignoring the Evidence about Immigration

Sometimes you think a story in the Daily Mail might make its readers think, just a little bit, about an issue. For example, the average Daily Mail reader firmly believes that every immigrant – illegal or otherwise – gets given lavish benefits, a house and everything they want. This is to be contrasted with the ‘indigenous’ Briton who gets none of these things.

However, Daily Mail readers are not very good at thinking – which is why they buy a newspaper to do it for them. They cannot see that immigrants cannot possibly be both stealing all of our jobs and leaching off the taxpayer on benefits. Likewise, if a story appears that shows immigrants not living the life of luxury that they assume they’re all living, they don’t think that perhaps they’ve been mistaken. Instead, they get angry that immigrants who do seem deserving are getting a rough ride, whilst immigrants who do not deserve anything (illegal is used widely) get everything. It doesn’t change their viewpoint, it just makes them angrier about their original viewpoint.

It’s all rather depressing that certain sections of humanity cannot help a fellow man without first crying in despair with arms aloft: ‘But what have they done for US?’. This brings us to the story in today’s Mail about a set of immigrants that have earned compassion: the Gurkhas. ‘Picture of despair: 24 Gurkhas living in desperate poverty in country they fought for (so why won’t Joanna Lumley speak out now?)‘. Quite why Joanna Lumley is the only person that should speak out for them is beyond me, and the attack seems more than a little hypocritical and distasteful given the Daily Mail campaign to dehumanise immigrants.

But, I accept that the Daily Mail exists purely to attack people, regardless of whether they’re throwing stones from within an extremely delicate glass house. What frustrates me is the unfailing inability of Mail readers to think when they read an article. Whatever article they read I get the impression that they walk away with exactly the same opinion that they started with. I know that most of the Daily Mail’s output is designed to actively ensure this, but often they run contradictory articles like this and still Mail readers are none-the-wiser.

The article makes it clear that:

Astonishingly in the current financial climate, they were advised they would get jobs paying £1,000 a month.

Yet the reality is so cruelly different. Most of the veterans have never received a penny…

The majority insisted that they had received promises from the Gurkha’s veterans association Gaeso and by the English lawyers at Howe & Co about getting work, houses, and benefits in the UK – yet hardly any have received a penny.

The reality is that the Gurkhas have received the same treatment that any immigrant receives when arriving in the UK. We do not lavish benefits on immigrants, even those that have served us. Rather than questioning whether this is in fact the case, Mail readers simply stick their head in the hands and insist that someone, somewhere, is getting all of these handouts and that they are less deserving than the Gurkhas:

Genuine cases like these get nothing while every Tom Dick and Abdul from Somalia to Iraq get everything they could possibly require. Makes me so angry.

– jake, reading, 18/3/2010 6:00 Click to rate Rating 76

If I understand correctly, these gentelmen are LEGAL immigrants.

Maybe that was their mistake.

It seems to me that the disgrace belongs not to Joanna Lumley, but to the British Government. From this distance, I receive the impression that the minions of government, both local and national, are too busy with preserving the human rights of illegal immigrants, fining people for taking photos of their grandchildren in public parks or for blowing their noses behind the wheel at a red light. I wonder if a change of government might help?

– Barduchas, Dubai, 18/3/2010 5:57 Click to rate Rating 58

Some people do not even see the obvious contradictions in their own arguments:

As it has been said before and as i will say it again now. These men fought for this country. Were willing to put their lives on the line for US. Now we are forsaking them and for WHAT exactly??

I would be proud for them to come and live in this country and be a part of our society. They, more than any other immigrant who comes to this country to take advantage of our LAX benefits culture truelly deserve far far more both in support and gratitude than what they are not receiving at the moment.

I’m frankly disgusted at their treatment.

– Rick, Toytown, 18/3/2010 10:12 Click to rate Rating 56

Just what is Rick thinking? How can he actually write down that argument? Does he seriously think that an already deeply unpopular government is withholding benefits from the popular Gurkhas that every other immigrant (legal or otherwise) gets? Is he suggesting that everyone is able to ‘take advantage of our LAX benefits culture’… apart from Gurkhas? Has the government put in special measures to ensure that no benefits are issued to just about the only immigrant group that the public generally supports? Do Gurkhas join the benefit queue only to be turned away: ‘Sorry Sir, turns out you’re a Gurkha. You’re not entitled to anything, can you please step to one side so I can throw money at the illegal Somalian behind you.’

Do Mail readers never see how utterly ridiculous their arguments are? Do they not realise that this treatment isn’t abnormal, it’s the reality of moving to the UK. If anything, they should be pleased, after all, given how much they hate their taxes going to those less fortunate than themselves in the form of benefits. If you generally have no compassion for those these fortunate than you, do not be upset when a group less fortunate than you that you just happen to like gets shafted just like the rest of them.

Either have compassion for other human beings, or don’t. Do not pick and choose based on which groups might have done something for you first, that just makes you a selfish arsehole.