It is amazing that after all this time of reading the Daily Mail and browsing the Daily Mail website I still find certain headlines and articles shocking. Perhaps what I really find disturbing is that the Daily Mail – and other media outlets – can get away with dishonest headlines written purely to stir up racial hatred. The Daily Mail can pretend all it likes that it dislikes the BNP and the EDL, but their agenda is utterly in support of both of those organisations. As soon as I saw this headline I thought it must be rubbish: ‘Harriet Harman praises ‘hero’ immigrants who send welfare handouts home’, and I was right.
As has been pointed out to me on a few occasions, I should not blame journalists for the headlines that accompany their articles. So I will not blame Simon Walters for this headline. However, I will give him credit for the opening paragraph:
Harriet Harman has praised ‘heroic’ immigrants who claim welfare payments in Britain and use the cash to support families living abroad.
She said the Government should make it easier for them to send the money home and called for tax refunds to encourage more immigrants to follow suit, in particular those who paid for their children to be educated in the Third World.
Walters then finds an audience member – unnamed of course – to give ‘their’ opinion:
one member of the audience said Ms Harman would have to be ‘careful’ how she campaigned on the issue. ‘She was told that if it was found the majority of people sending remittances were on benefits, critics would say it proved that they are receiving too much in State handouts if they can still send money abroad,’ according to one person who was present.
Yes, critics, like the Daily Mail for example who publish this headline and make the allegation that it is ‘welfare handouts’ that are being sent home. Harman said nothing of the sort, instead she praised immigrants ‘who come from Africa and work and study and bring up their families here. Many of them also send money back to their village in their country of origin. We should respect and encourage that. International development is not just something done by governments’.
As far as benefits are concerned:
‘Some of these families will be receiving child benefit and tax credits to which they are entitled. Charitable generosity has never been confined to the well-off.’
So, it seems that this is not a case of immigrants coming over here to be ‘hosed down with benefits’ – as Littlejohn would say – so that they can afford to send loads of money home. No, it is the case of working immigrants who receive the same benefits that all employees receive whilst in the UK sending a little money home to help relatives. What is wrong with this? Do immigrants working in the UK have to spend all of their money in the UK? I seem to recall a lot of British people like to holiday abroad, draining the UK economy of much-needed money, should the Daily Mail campaign to stop this to?
Depressingly the article is accompanied with a photograph of Harman and a black immigrant, which the picture caption informs us is ‘one of her Muslim constituents’. Not that the Mail would want to make a link between immigrant scroungers sending ‘welfare handouts’ and Muslims, of course. The article ends with an unnamed ‘Conservative official’ who rages:
‘The idea that people should come here from Africa, claim welfare benefits and send it all back home is ridiculous and irresponsible.’
Yes, that idea is ridiculous, but no-one has said anything about this happening – the Daily Mail has made this up, no doubt along with all of the anonymous ‘sources’ in the article. Thanks to the pathetic PCC the Daily Mail doesn’t even need to be creative, it can just make stuff up and print it.
Still, the readers get the right message: