Socialist Worker

How the jobs lie was born

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2197

Percentage of new jobs going to UK citizens graph

Percentage of new jobs going to UK citizens graph

The birth of the Tory immigration-jobs lie tells an interesting story about the manipulation of the media.

John Humphreys interrupted Gordon Brown’s stumbling interview on the Today programme last week saying, “But 93 percent of new jobs went to foreigners under Labour.” To which Brown mumbled a reply.

That morning, under an “exclusive” banner, the Daily Express claimed—“BRITISH JOBS PLEDGE SHATTERED AS 98% GIVEN TO IMMIGRANTS”.

And the Daily Mail released their “investigation” claiming that 99 percent of migrants had got all the newly created jobs.

Both had borrowed the story from the in-house magazine of the Tory party, the Spectator.

Here’s how it emerged.

  • Tory MP Damien Green raised the “exclusive” that 98.5 percent of new jobs under Labour had gone to “foreigners” at 12.38pm last Wednesday during prime minister’s question time in parliament.
  • His rabidly racist contribution was followed by a Tory press release the following hour.
  • By 5pm the lies came with a graph “revealed” in the Spectator.
  • The next day it was the front page of the Tory press, and the clever question on Radio 4’s key political programme.

In response, Phil Woolas – the Labour minister in charge of immigration – said, “Most immigrants are temporary. They’ve left and gone already.”

This does nothing to tackle a lie which by now is probably the accepted wisdom of every racist in Britain.

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Article information

Tue 13 Apr 2010, 18:51 BST
Issue No. 2197
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