The ‘special’ James Slack

James Slack has a reputation for twisting, distortion and good old-fashioned lying when it comes to his many articles on immigration. He is paid to ensure any news story on immigration slots nicely into the Mail’s narrative, which seems to be that Britain is being swamped by brown-skinned foreigners to such an extent that we are becoming a minority. Last night James Slack posted a ‘Special report’ titled: ‘Will the white British population be in a minority in 2066?’.

The whole article is based on a report by Prof Coleman who Slack makes a special effort to verify as ‘one of Britain’s foremost experts on demographics… hugely respected for his academic ­rigour and for the avoidance of ­emotion and prejudice in his work’. However, further on the Mail underlines his credibility somewhat by pointing out that he does research for the MigrationWatch ‘think-tank’, well known for providing completely bogus figures on immigration to be lapped up by an unquestioning media. Prof Coleman’s report suggests that:

The white British-born ­population — defined by Prof Coleman as white English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish-born citizens — would decline from 80 per cent of the total now to 59 per cent in 2051.

Further into the future, and also taking into account factors such as changing birth and death rates, the ‘white British population’ would become the minority after about 2066.

So, already the report seems to be on dodgy ground – as is Slack – because what it is suggesting is that there is a fundamental difference between being a White Briton and a Briton that has a different skin colour. I can understand to an extent people becoming concerned at British identity being lost, but to be concerned because that British identity actually includes people of a different skin colour is just plain racism.

Prof Coleman seems to produce one of these reports every few years and he has been accused in the past as being ‘rather simplistic’ with the projections that he makes. Not surprisingly James Slack does not attempt to question the report in any way – after all, he happily churnalises MigrationWatch reports on a regular basis. At the end of the ‘Special report’ James Slack says that:

Whatever the view a person holds on immigration, nobody should disagree with his desire to see the subject fully — and maturely — debated.

So, what is Slack’s idea of a ‘mature’ and ‘full’ debate? Well, bringing out the usual tabloid rubbish about immigration. Firstly, he claims that Labour and the Lib Dems are ‘widely considered to promote open-door immigration policies’ and that the Lib Dems in the coalition ‘continue to want open-door policies’. Before we can have a mature and full debate about immigration the right-wing must first accept that there has never been an ‘open-door’ immigration policy. People from outside the EU have always struggled to move to the UK. Tell the Iraqi interpretors that we have an open-door immigration policy, or the Gurkhas. The only open-door policy is immigration within the EU, which is reciprocal and largely involves white people which should surely make the Daily Mail feel slightly less scared.

The next point follows on from this previous point: Slack actually suggests that ‘Tories have long believed that Labour encouraged mass immigration in the belief that as newcomers to a nation tend to be more Left-wing, Labour’s electoral chances would be enhanced’. This argument needs to be consigned to the dustbin before any proper discussion can take place.

The next point is the height of hypocrisy: ‘Meanwhile, in the absence of proper debate or consultation with the British people, odious far-Right groups were able to cynically capitalise on the sense of alienation felt by working-class voters in particular’. ‘Odious far-Right groups’ are the result of the perception of immigration, not the reality. The media work hard to create this false perception and it is about time they put their hands up and accepted this.

Slack also argues that integration has been hampered by ‘the failed doctrine of multiculturalism’. Who says it has failed? Who has decided this? Where has the ‘open debate’ been on this point? What does integration actually mean? You can’t just say something has failed. This is also linked to Slack’s claim that:

there was the belated introduction of the so-called Life In The UK test for foreign nationals seeking a British passport. Yet this eschewed questions on British history in favour of risible sections on how to claim welfare benefits.

Show me this test please James. Show me the sections on claiming benefits, show me the lack of questions on British history. If you cannot do so I will assume that the UK citizenship test is actually more like the one on the official test website. A lot of ‘White British’ people took this test a while back and the vast majority of them failed miserably because the questions are so obscure. Also, we all failed to notice the sections on claiming benefits.

Slack argues that ‘it is encouraging to note that his thought-provoking ­article should be published by a Left-leaning magazine, suggesting that — finally — we may be moving to a time when adult discussion of immigration policy is considered possible’. I wonder why he doesn’t describe other reports published on immigration by ‘Left-leaning’ magazines as ‘thought-provoking’? Is it simply because this report says exactly what the Mail wants to believe and the others do not? Of course it is, which is why no ‘adult discussion of immigration’ is currently possible.

As if to really ram home this point Slack also brings up Gillian Duffy – the rather simple granny that Gordon Brown called a bigot, who became a champion in the eyes of the media who kept calling her ‘eloquent’, even though she clearly was not. As I pointed out at the time, the right-wing claim that you ‘cannot talk about immigration’ was ludicrous given that the right-wing talk about little else. What I do agree on is that we cannot have a proper discussion on immigration as long as the right-wing papers insist on only discussing it in racist terms using distorted figures or outright lies.

Currently, James Slack is employed by the Daily Mail to tell lies about immigration. How can he seriously suggest we should enter into a ‘mature’, ‘adult’ debate when this is the case?

The next ‘Wave’

Another scary immigration headline in the Daily Mail today, implying that Bulgaria has granted British citizenship to non-EU residents:

Another dishonest James Slack article

What has actually happened is that Bulgaria plans to grant Bulgarian citizenship to around 500,000 human beings currently residing in the Ukraine and Moldova. The Daily Mail implies that Bulgaria is giving these people the right to move to move to the UK:

Bulgaria has announced plans to hand passports to more than 500,000 non-EU citizens – giving them long-term rights to live and work in the UK.

Which is a bit misleading given that in the very next paragraph they write this:

Nationality minister Bozhidar Dimitrov says the new citizens – currently in the Ukraine and Moldova – would be free to come and live in Bulgaria.

This does mean of course that once given an Bulgarian passport the 500,000 people would be free to move anywhere within the EU. However, what evidence is there to suggest that a significant number of people would want to move to Bulgaria, let alone move across Europe to end up in Britain – a country that is, let’s not forget, ‘Broken’. The Daily Mail just assumes that all 500,000 will get a passport and catch the first bus to Britain.

This kind of scare tactic – employed here by James Slack, who seems to be ‘writer-in-charge-of-dishonest-immigration-stories’ – has been used before by the Daily Express when it claimed that: ‘BRITAIN was last night warned to expect a new wave of immigration from Eastern Europe after almost half a million Ukrainians and Serbians were given the right to live, work and claim benefits in the UK‘. The number of potential immigrants (500,000) is the same in both stories, as is the implication that the people involved are not being granted the right to live in a European country hundreds of miles from Britain, but rather they are being given direct access to work and live in Britain – and claim benefits of course.

The comments make it clear that the readers of the article have taken the message to heart: Britain is about to be swamped again by a new wave of immigrants. It almost seems kind of pointless to point out that this just is not true.

A Damning Report

I was reading a blog post by Mark Easton – the BBC’s home editor – on crime statistics being pushed in different directions by different political parties in the run up to the election. In the post he just happened to mention that crime statistics being pushed by the Conservatives had inspired the Daily Mail to assert:

that “nearly two-thirds of Government press releases contain misleading or unsubstantiated claims”.

However, the document actually says that its findings do “not necessarily mean that the statistics were misleading or inaccurate”. According to one of the statisticians who produced the “damning report”, it is not damning in the least.

Professor Sheila Bird, who will be presenting the results at the Royal Statistical Society tomorrow, tells me that the findings are “not shocking at all but a statistical standard to aim for”.

Not surprisingly a quick visit to the Daily Mail website reveals the writer of this article is none other than James Slack, who has form for misrepresenting crime statistics.

Mail’s Recession Crimewave hasn’t happened

Throughout most of 2009 the Daily Mail – and James Slack in particular – were either reporting on a crimewave that was already underway or predicting a massive rise of crime due to the recession. Here are just a few headlines:

January

The credit crunch crimewave: Increase in burglary and robbery is fuelled by economic downturn‘ – Daily Mail Reporter

‘The economic crisis is fuelling crime, new figures have showed. 31 police forces across England and Wales reported a rise in burglaries and robberies during the last four months of 2008.’

Credit crunch crimewave: Burglaries up, knife attacks up and a row over fiddled figures‘ – James Slack

‘A ‘credit crunch crimewave’ is taking hold, with one family every two minutes suffering the misery of a burglary, it has emerged.’

February

As ‘credit crunch crimewave’ begins, serial burglars ‘failing to serve minimum sentences’‘ – Daily Mail Reporter (means it is simply a rehashed or copied press release)

‘Almost four out of five serial burglars fail to get the minimum punishment laid down by the law, according to figures released by the Conservatives.’

April

Credit crunch crimewave: Recession fuels a boom in burglaries and knife muggings‘ – James Slack

‘The number of thefts have jumped by a quarter sparking fears of a credit crunch crime wave fuelled by rising unemployment, official figures reveal today.’

May

Recession crimewave ‘will need more police‘ – James Slack

‘Burglary, mugging and theft will rocket by 25 per cent over the next two years as recession bites, police leaders will warn today.’

June

Recession sparks surge in fake burglaries from cash-strapped homes after insurance payouts‘ – Stephen Wright

‘The recession may be triggering a rise in false reporting of burglaries, a chief constable has warned.’

July

Credit crunch crime wave: Theft, burglaries and fraud rise on the back of record unemployment‘ – Daily Mail Reporter

‘The recession has seen theft soar 25 per cent and shoplifting 10 per cent. The number of burglaries has also increased, the first rise in six years.’

October

Burglaries boom as credit crunch hardship leads to steep rise in crime‘ – Stephen Wright

‘Police forces across the country are reporting an upward trend in burglaries just as they did during the recessions of the 1970s and early 1990s.’

So, has Britain suffered a huge recession-fuelled outbreak of burglary? Err, no, not according to the lastest Home Office figures. It actually turns out that the average crime rate has fallen by 8% – which just happens to be the amount that burglary has fallen by. Criminal damage is down 11%, offence against vehicles is down 20%, robbery is down 9% and other theft offences have fallen by 5%. Fraud and forgery is down 13% and violence against the person is down 4%.

There has been a 7% increase in the theft of pedal cycles – but largely due to David Cameron having his stolen so many times. Theft from the person is up 7% (not matching some of the larger percentages predicted for general crime increase by the Mail and last – but certainly not least – sexual offences have increased 5%.

So I imagine that overall the figures are quite positive. It will be interesting to see how the Mail covers these figures. Will they focus on the negative figures, or try to claim that the ‘real’ or ‘true’ crime figures are much higher. I’d put money on them talking about the ‘real’ or ‘true’ crime rate being higher and that the Police are not recording the figures properly. Of course, if the figures had suited the Mail then they would repeat them without questioning them. Perhaps they might prove me wrong and report them accurately as a big of good news, maybe they’ll even include a brief mention of how they were sorry for scaring more vulnerable readers with their predictions of an impending crimewave.

What is clear is that although the BBC reported the figures this morning, the Daily Mail website (as far as I can see) has yet to report them. I imagine they would have managed to mention them by now if they did report a crimewave.


On the subject of crime it is disheartening to see today’s Mail frontpage dedicated to Munir Hussain’s release and a victory for ‘common sense’. So, according to the Daily Mail (the family values paper) participating in a brutal revenge attack on criminals whereby the criminal is beaten with weapons to an inch of their life is ‘common sense’. Certainly sadist punishment – such as the rack – is thought to be a perfectly acceptable to be meted out to criminals, just look at Mac’s ‘hilarious’ cartoon today.

How long before the vigilantes doling out horrific beatings will be in the same category as ‘law-abiding drivers’ being unfairly caught doing 90 on the M5?

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

I really shouldn’t be surprised anymore should I? However yesterday’s headline piece in the Daily Wail: ‘Random attack by thugs every 30 seconds as ‘stranger assaults’ soar in binge Britain‘; was an impressive piece of extreme dishonesty. The old saying about lies, damn lies and statistics really belongs in the Daily Mail because everybody knows that statistics can prove anything. Now I’m no expert… well, actually, I am an expert… statistics are really powerful and are a vitally important way of ascertaining the truth of complex problems such as crime rates. It is obviously true that statistics can and often are twisted to make whichever point the user of statistics wants to make (as this article brilliantly demonstrates). The fault lies with the argument and not the statistics. The great irony is that the Mail often abuses statistics and uses them to make any point they wish, whilst at the same time fuelling the belief that statistics cannot be trusted and thus appealing to the preconceived ideas of the reader. Crime rates are probably the best example of this.

This article is based on the British Crime Survey data released last week. The report can be found here on the Home Office website [PDF file]. The BCS is a very interesting, powerful and important piece of research. For obvious reasons, the public have very legitimate concerns about crime, and hence the government needs to know what is happening with crime – both in order to shape policy and to demonstrate to the electorate the effectiveness or otherwise of various policies. One set of data that is used is the recorded crime rates – crimes reported to police. There is no doubt that these figures, whilst important are flawed. Not all crime is reported – for a lot of reasons; and thus the reported crime rate may not reflect what is actually happening. Is a rise in the reported crime rate a good or a bad thing? Well, a rise in crime is clearly a bad thing – but if crime rates are steady and the rise is a reflection of increased confidence in the police then clearly it is a good thing. Hence the British Crime Survey which seeks to ascertain by means of extensive research people’s actual experience of crime and thus what the actual crime rates are.

You get a very good idea of the intent of the article from this one line:

“The true picture of street violence could be even worse. Some experts believe that fewer than a half of such crimes are reported to police.”

To be fair, this statement is not necessarily false. There probably are some ‘experts’ who believe rates are much higher, though it would be nice to know who they are – no wait, I know who it is, it’s the Daily Mail editorial board… Of course it could be true but it’s the second part of the sentence that’s worrying to me. We know the statistics come from the British Crime Survey and are hence related to actual crime rates and having nothing to do with reported crime rates so it is totally irrelevant that fewer than half might be reported – that does not affect these figures at all. Not so much Lies and statistics as statistics, reporters and lies (rearrange these words to make a sentence). There’s even a complaint that we’re convicting too many women:

“Last month, the Daily Mail revealed that the Government’s own figures show the number of women being convicted for murders, vicious assaults and other attacks has rocketed by 81 per cent since 1998.”

So our failed justice system is now convicting too many criminals? I’m confused.

The main thrust of the article is aimed at showing how out of control violent crime is and quotes this stat that violent attacks by strangers has risen from 32% of all violent crime to 50% of all violent crime.

The most important fact that I want to communicate here is the one they don’t tell you: Violent crime is down. Way down. It’s less that half its peak level which, for the record was in 1995. We are now back down to 1981 levels (oh, sorry, didn’t you know that crime (and violent crime) rose steadily though out the 80’s until the mid-nineties and has been falling since?)

Please do not misunderstand me, one crime – especially one violent crime – is one too many and there is a lot of violence out there. However because that is true, we should celebrate the massive reduction in violent crime that has taken place. Furthermore the use of crime as a political weapon by stoking up the fear of crime is particularly sick.

So, finally what about this claim that stranger attacks have soared from 32% to 50%. There were approximately 4 million violent crimes in 1996. 32% of 4 million is 1.3 million and 50% of 2 million is 1 million. How’s this for a headline? Violent attacks by strangers SOAR from 1.3 million to 1 million.

Lies, Damn lies and Daily Mail Reporting.


P.S. I notice that the byline is given to one James Slack – maybe that’s a description of the journalist rather than his name?

James Slack: Please Kill Yourself

After spending as long as I have browsing the Daily Mail website you’d think I couldn’t see much that surprises me anymore, but sadly I’m still shocked by some of the sheer hypocrisy of Mail readers. Take the latest James ‘I-stir-up-hatred-of-immigrants-for-a-living’ Slack ‘article’ on immigrants for example: ‘Immigrants who jeer at British troops in the street to be barred from gaining citizenship‘. It’s a classic piece of slack journalism: blame overpopulation on immigrants, claim that immigrants are swamping the UK, claim that we have no border controls and put a picture of Muslims protesting against British troops to make sure the readers know damn well just what a bunch of British-haters all immigrants are. This also makes a BNP point, as for all we know the Muslims in the photo were born in the UK and may even be second or third generation British citizens, what James Slack wants to make clear is that all brown-skinned people are immigrants and should be thrown out.

All pretty standard fare, but the comments elevate the article to a new level:

It will never happen!:It is just more spin, bluster and downright lies from our dying Government. They want to try to con the people that they will do all the things they have spent 12 years ignoring or doing the total opposite. They are more delusional than I thought if they really believe that anybody believes a word they say any more!- Duncan Walker, Thailand, 3/8/2009 0:49

Click to rate Rating 683

How about starting with the language and OUR customs first!!!!- Trevor, Perth, 3/8/2009 0:42

Click to rate Rating 688

Finally a step in the right direction.- Fliss, Melbourne, Australia, 3/8/2009 0:21

Click to rate Rating 389

Yes, you’re not imagining things, those anti-immigrant comments – the first three comments underneath the article – are written by immigrants, two living in Australia and one in Thailand. Assuming that they are posting such comments on British immigration figures because they are British, they’re all actually immigrants. Yet they hate immigrants and whinge about them. Can they not connect the dots? There are a couple more:

At last, some common sense in the UK ! stop giving so much money to the hand out brigade and get rid of nu labour and I might consider coming back !- Gary, Brisbane (ex pat), 2/8/2009 23:45

Click to rate Rating 510

Passing a spoken English test would be a good idea! The last time I arrived tr Heathrow I couldnt understand one word of what the Asian official was telling me!

– David, Adelaide Australia, 2/8/2009 23:08
Click to rate Rating 310

I feel sorry for Australia, it has a massive influx of immigrants from the UK and judging from the constant ignorant and brainless whinging by British immigrants living there quite a few of them are utter twats.
Those of you who took the practice citizenship test recently will be well aware of how difficult and utterly pointless it is. However, due to the mass hysteria and ignorance over the issue of immigration the tests are now increasing and the process is even more laborious and expensive for people seeking – perfectly legally and reasonably – to live in the UK.

James Slack ends the article with the kind of line that makes me really hate him and the shitty newspaper he writes for. I’d love to meet James Slack and try to convey to him what an utter piece of shit he is. I’d like to explain to him that the only way he could save his soul would be to kill himself. He has sold his soul to write articles that whip up hatred for foreigners. He must be part of the staple diet of BNP members. Are you proud James? Do you have a family? Do they know what an utter fucking scumbag you are? Are your parents proud that their son has grown up to be a racist shit-kicker for a living?

You may feel this is a little harsh so I’m in the process of scouring the blogosphere for posts on James Slack and his lies against immigrants, evidence of why he should do the decent thing and kill himself. However, this will take some time, for now, I give you the last line of his article as evidence:

The existing multiple-choice Life in the UK test, which will remain, concentrates on questions such as how to contact the emergency services and claim benefits.

Yes James, it isn’t really a test at all is it? It’s just a government scheme to ensure all immigrants will be claiming the maximum amount of benefits.

Please James, for the sake of all that is good in the world, kill yourself.