There was so much else I wanted to write about today - Tranmere and Hertha Berlin are both second in their respective league tables, I've got a trip to the San Siro lined up for next week, and Joni Mitchell has a new album out.
However, the Mail continues to play the immigration card as election fever hots up. To be fair, the story was also covered in other papers, notably the Telegraph but I want to kick the DM/Mail on Sunday because like Mount Everest, it is there.
Today's piece of dodgy statistics centres on the figures for crime in London. Again, their use of these figures is carefully crafted to extract maximum fear and loathing. It does not matter that the figures actually tell a different story. Again Iwould recommend the analysis of 5 Chinese Crackers here and in other earlier posts on that blog.
The story can be found here.
I covered the misuse of stats in earlier rantings. This latest story refers to the Cambridgeshire story and in my post of 14th August I picked apart a similar scare story about foreigners committing crime in the capital. As I said then, when looking at the ethnicity of London:
- Wikipedia quotes the last Census of 2001 thus:In the 2001 census, 71.15% of these seven and a half million people classed their ethnic group as white (classified as White British (59.79%), White Irish (3.07%) or "Other White" (8.29%, mostly Polish, Greek Cypriot, Italian and French)), 12.09% as Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or "Other Asian" (mostly Sri Lankan, Arab and other South Asian ethnicities), 10.91% as Black (around 7% as Black African, 4.79% as Black Caribbean, 0.84% as "Other Black"), 3.15% as mixed race, 1.12% as Chinese and 1.58% as other (mostly Filipino, Japanese, and Vietnamese). 21.8% of inhabitants were born outside the European Union. The Irish, from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, number approximately 200,000, as do the Scots and Welsh combined. Although, Wikipedia can sometimes be less than accurate, it is clear that, allowing for an increase in the last 6 years after the entry of other countries into the EU, the figure of 30% is a good starting point.
Therefore the figures are blatantly being exploited to pander to the readership. Theheadline about Poles is not even an accurate reading of the figures. Do Mail journalists understand mathematics? As I have said before, I do not believe that playing the race card will reap dividends as seen with the terrible trio of Hague, Howard and Duncan-Smith. I do hope this is the case, and that they will merely preach to the converted, or drive them into the arms of the UKIP or BNP.
The Telegraph helpfully publishes a league table for the crimes! This was not the kind of table I had in mind this morning! The DM at the time of writing had not conjured up any reaction from its readers, but the DT did have the usual predictable comments. However, hats off to Dr. Keith Anderson of Durham Business School for his pertinent point,
- The article contains a statistical oversight, and a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts by the Conservatives. The statistical oversight is to take no account of the base-line figure. From my (mercifully rare) travels on the Tube, I would guess that at least half the people in London at any one time are foreigners. If the true proportion is anything more than 20%, then the foreigners are actually more law-abiding than Londoners are. The rather more sinister misrepresentation of the facts by the shadow immigration minister is to describe people from Eastern Europe as immigrants. These people have the right to live and work here, just as we have the right to go and live in Poland if we want. They have effectively been redefined as not really immigrants at all. Like it or not, this is part and parcel of belonging to the EU. Damian Green implies that we can somehow control EU 'immigration' without leaving the EU. But this is a bullet his party is not prepared to bite.Posted by Dr. Keith Anderson
The depressing thing is that this is not the first such example and it will not be the last. To Mr Slack and his fellow writers I refer you to John Lennon's question, 'How do you sleep at night?'
The Mail's website has now amended the headline to 'immigrants' in place of 'Poles' as they've suddenly realised it was total crap.
UPDATE: The Sequel (24th September)
some of the comments that have now appeared are most encouraging. See what happens when you allow free speech, moderators of the DM? Even the normally strange Mark, Poplar makes a good point, and doesn't mention his religious school education.
- Presumably the term foreigner in this context doesn't include immigrants who have since been naturalised. I am not sure what percentage people living in London is non-British. These figures can only indicate whether foreigners commit more or less crime than the British if appropriate comparisons are made.- Mark, Poplar London England
- I can see how you mention the Poles in this article because they are the number one offenders. It stands to reason that the number one offender is going to be mentioned. That makes sense. But why is it always that Romanians get pegged. They are mentioned as fifth. What happened to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th?- Rick, UK
- Nice job with the numbers there... 1/5 of crimes are committed by foreign nationals... out of those, 10 percent could be Poles. But don't let the facts get in the way of a sensational headline.- Statistician, Upper Uncton
The completely suspicious self-appointed vigilante, Albert also spews forth:
- They might "seek to deport Foreign Nationals" but NuLabs own laws make it impossible, and the Home Office is fully aware of that fact!- Albert Hurwood, National Vigilante Organisation., Corby, Northants, UK
His website (Navigor) is very interesting and if you google him you will see allegations of links to the BNP.
- They are not criminals, according to our Marxist government, they are victims of society who can be cured. It is the honest law abiding people that are to blame.- Douglas, Swansea
This is just insane. Has this man ever read Karl Marx. answer begins with 'N' and ends with 'O'.
FINALLY, the great Polish polymath, Franciszek makes his debut in the Mail:
- Again, the figures back up the fact that foreigners are more law abiding than the indigenous population.- Franciscek Weems,, Lodz, Poland
His newly found relative Jacqui, known in Poland as osioł, must be very proud.