Whilst I was composing a piece on the recent statements about the effect of the increase in immigration on public resources, I was drawn to the picture caption on the Daily Mail story about Peterborough. The caption was : Struggling to cope: Peterborough looks pretty, but bears the scars of immigration.
This is because immigration doesn't destroy historic buildings in the same way as say Luftwaffe bombs.
They quote a source close to the problem:
One 82-year-old who refused to give his name for fear of reprisals said he would no longer go into the city centre after nightfall.
He added: "It's changed beyond recognition.
"The system has definitely been overloaded.
"Now I won't go out at night because of the violence and the rowdiness."
This is not to play down the perception the elderly person has; many younger people would have similar fears about town centres. The dishonesty is that there is nothing in the statement that refers to overseas people contributing to this fear. Also, statistics (ahem) show that the most vulnerable to attacks are in much younger categories. This has been the case for decades. Granted, we do feel susceptible to harm in the cities but this is largely irrational. Again, I make it clear that I am not saying that this is to be mocked; it can happen to us all. However, we need to take a step back when reporting such matters. Scaremongering without facts merely nurtures the fears.
The Mail then tells us of the cost.
Cambridgeshire Police spent a record £800,000 on translators between March 2005 and April last year. A spokesman said its 130 civilian workers spoke 236 languages between them and arrivals are given welcome packs written in 15 languages, explaining laws, traffic regulations and important contact numbers.Of course when we are abroad, living or visiting, we wouldn't expect a translator if we had to deal with the police. Did Mr and Mrs McCann understand their Portuguese inquisitors?
Then there is the usual moronic, semi-literate comment:
So basically this 10% growth of the economy that migrants bring to us is actually worthless for none of us see a 10% benefit in our daily affairs but most of us see more than a 10% reduction in our standard of living due to too many people been here.And still it goes on.- Ibbo, Leeds, UK
There is a debate to be had over the effect of immigration on certain areas. It is also right to debate the level of funding of police forces.
The Guardian's Leader today is sensible. It is to be expected that there will be increased demands on public services if there is a sudden influx in people, whether it be the seasonal deluge of tourists or American P.R. visits.
All police forces seek more funding. This is nothing new. All public bodies do the same. Indeed, witness the regular jockeying for position in the Cabinet over slices of cake. The public, not unnaturally, and not unrelated to our 82 year old friend above, also demand a greater police presence. Regardless of the flaws in the 'more bobbies on the beat' argument, it is clear that public perception of crime is affected by this. In this sense, Cambridgeshire Police are pushing at an open door.
Labour has consistently tried to counter accusations of being soft on immigration. Yesterday's comment by Immigration Minister Liam Byrne hardly helped, asserting that those in the UK "illegally should go home - not go to the front of the queue for jobs and benefits".
This could have come frsh from the comments section of my favourite toilet newspaper or a BNP (hello googlers!) hate sheet. It is dangerous to pander to an audience that will never entertain the notion of voting for you. If Brown truly has the convictions of Thatcher then he will take the golden leaf from her book, and follow his Party's traditional core values.
I'm still worried about Paddington Bear's recent U-turn in advertising marmite rather than marmalade. His guardians, a certain Mr and Mrs Brown must be concerned. Bloody Peruvians!
Finally, the pic of agricultural workers was captioned, "Rural attraction: Immigrant's are attracted to Peterborough because of nearby agricultural work"
I know it's petty but I take delight in misuse of the apostrophe in this paper, whether by accident or design.