Eliminationism in Britain

April 17, 2008 at 6:50 pm | Posted in British Politics, Immigration, Media | 1 Comment
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Photo by Flickr user The Sizemore McCabe Project (Creative Commons)

To say the Daily Express and its embittered older brothers lie frequently, compulsively and without any care for the spite they spill over the nation’s newstands is regarded as such a worn-out cliche that it’s hardly worth giving voice to, let alone toiling over another outraged blog post. When confronted with their crimes against truth, it’s easy to affect a resigned sigh or revel in mockery of their mudslinging and doomsaying. It’s a defence mechanism, I guess. It allows us go about our lives without constantly rubbing our worried temples at how pervasive their divisive rhetoric is within society.

But when the lie is so blatant, so contrived and only achievable through contorting the facts to suit your fears, the only option is to fling the mud straight back at them.

On April 16th The Guardian reported that for all the Express’ fear-mongering about immigrants ramping-up the country’s crime rate, the Association of Chief Police Officers (who know a thing or two about crime) found that an immigrant was no more likely to commit crime than the tawdry little Englanders Great Britons who read the ‘World’s Greatest Newspaper’.

Feeling shocked, hurt and probably a little betrayed by this invasion of inconvenient truths, the next day the Express decided to report that ACPO’s conclusions were the exact opposite and that, yes, the Polish mafia is still raping grannies, stealing from children and setting up drug dens in every suburban street.

On first glance, it seems baffling that the Express would stoop to such desparation, particularly when ACPO’s report contained enough conclusions for them to claim an ill-won victory. Take this for example:

“The influx of eastern Europeans has created pressures on forces in some areas, including local rumour and misunderstandings fuelling tensions which police have had to be proactive in resolving, and leading to significant increases in spending on interpreters, which can also make investigations more complex.”

There’s enough meat in that paragraph alone to make a juicy front-page headline: See, we were right all along! They come over here, steal our jobs and use our public services. Victory is mine!

But instead of exaggerating and exploiting one easily-available truth, they sought to lead with a lie. Why do this? For me, this blatant deception proves that the Daily Express, and to a lesser extent The Sun and Daily Mail, are actively espousing the politics of eliminationism.

In the words of David Neiwert, whose own blog heroically chronicles the violence and exclusionary rhetoric of the American far-right, eliminationism:

Describes a kind of politics and culture that shuns dialogue and the democratic exchange of ideas for the pursuit of outright elimination of the opposing side, either through complete suppression, exile and ejection, or extermination.

It comes in many different guises – from McCarthyism and the recent witch-hunt against liberals to internment and racial segregation – but at its core is the stubborn rejection of coexistence with The Other. For the British far-right, immigrants sit alongside ‘gypsies’ and Muslims as a trinity of Others that cannot, must not be allowed to coexist with the middle class monoculture of their dreams. But because the British people are actually fairer and more tolerant than you’d know from reading the papers or prowling message boards, the only way they can achieve this goal is by practicing the politics of division, by forging the facts, by misinterpreting ministers’ statements, by wailing about ‘preferential treatment’, by turning anecdotal evidence into universal truth and by stubbornly rejecting any fact or argument that doesn’t conform.

Think I’m overreacting? Then answer me this: if the Daily Express and its associated slime-merchants were merely concerned that immigration was no longer socially sustainable and there should be greater restrictions in place, why attack those that are already here? Why insist they’re committing massive levels of crime when no evidence for that exists or maintain that these overwhelmingly hard-working people are ‘sponging’ off the state? If they’re so concerned with reducing the number of immigrants in the future, why attack those that are here now?

The answer is that ‘no immigrant is a good immigrant’, and they’ll stoop to any low seeking to prove it.

Related reading:

  • Admittedly, this is more of a pursuit for those who are slightly more time-rich, by Dave Neiwert’s epic series on US immigration is more than worth your time. You’ll find the intro here, followed by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 parts of brilliant, if slightly chilling reportage.
  • Anton Vowl and Septicisle were disecting these bastards long before I came along. Show some love.

Photo by Flickr user The Sizemore McCabe Project (Creative Commons)

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  1. […] the real crime wave 18Apr08 As a coda to this post, a press release from the TUC pointing out the real ‘immigrant crime wave’: ‘The […]


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