Nowhere was this more apparent yesterday than in the reporting of the economic effects of immigration. The Centre for Research and Analysis Migration had attached a press release to a complex report that claimed that immigration to the UK had produced a net economic benefit. As Tim Wigmore points out in the Telegraph this morning, up to a point, Lord Copper. What the report actually shows is that non-EEA immigrants actually cost the UK economy £104 billion. Sensibly, even the BBC reported a degree of uncertainty over the figures, and MigrationWatch was allowed to put the countervailing case.
In fact, all the recent figures have just underlined the findings of a seminal Channel 4 / ippr report dating from 2007. I wrote about this in 2007, 2008 and 2009. So did the Speccie.
"For every Pakistani sucking at the taxpayer's teats is an Indian paying those taxes. For every feckless Somali demanding housing and health care is a Chinese grafting sixty hours a week to pay for it. The left-leaning ippr carried out an important study in 2007 that identified why Labour's immigration policy had not raised per capita GDP in the UK one iota; half our immigrants are net contributors, adding to GDP and paying taxes and creating wealth, and half of them are net consumers, spending taxes and subtracting from national wealth. The key, of course, is knowing which half is which. And it's not based on skin colour.
The Speccie commented in 2008:
If the government is serious about optimising the planning of public services, it needs to disaggregate the immigrant population and find out which groups are profit centres and which are cost centres. No doubt it has been doing so quietly in the background, but it looks as if talking frankly about the results of this exercise in public would blow their political cover to smithereens. The best research so far available (prepared by the IPPR late last year for Channel 4’s Dispatches) makes for uneasy reading. Only 1 per cent of Polish immigrants claim income support, as opposed to 21 per cent of Turkish immigrants and 11 per cent of Pakistanis; only 8 per cent of Poles live in social housing, compared with 80 per cent of Somalis, and 41 per cent of Bangladeshis.And within national groups, as well as between them, things are complex. Tens of thousands of honest, hard working Nigerian health care workers keep the NHS working, on low wages for the most part, doing jobs the white underclass scorn. We'd be better off deporting our own chavs to Lagos than losing these Nigerians. But there are also tens of thousands of Nigerians engaged in petty fraud, feeding on British public services, on the take and on the make. We don't need them, don't want them and would be better off without them taking up accommodation and crowding out access to public services. But we need above all to distinguish between them."
When I wrote this previously, it was under the shadow that any comment critical of immigration was liable to earn the tag 'racist'. Gordon Brown and his bigoted stupidity did more to demolish the demonising effect of accusations of racism than anything else; Gillian Duffy made him look like a big, stupid, sectarian Gorbals lump and lost him the election. So this too has changed.
And there you have it. The Climate Change frauds from the UEA and Gordon Brown - unlikely heroes both, but both responsible for fairer and more transparent and honest public debate.