The Age of Hysteria

….the identification of Muslims, migrants, asylum seekers and gypsies/travellers as the targets of press hostility and/or xenophobia in the press, was supported by the evidence seen by the Inquiry.
– The Leveson Report.

It is quite true that misinformation, and outright lying has been used as a political tool for centuries. Today, we have a paradox. The hysterically inaccurate information that we are sometimes presented with so quickly and so easily due entirely to the speed of communication via the internet; can just as quickly and easily be discredited and dismissed, and yet it often isn’t. It’s often accepted and spread faster than ever before. We are a generation with access to information on a scale never seen before, and yet we tend to rely on how others interpret that information, rather than investigating for ourselves. Often the misinformation is presented in such a dramatic and sinister manner, so as to appeal to our preconceived prejudices (of which we all have) about the given topic, and so don’t tend to then spend time proving the claims wrong. I have wrote previously on The Sun’s manipulations, misinformation, and potently devious, divisive rhetoric, when it comes to perpetuating the myth of ‘benefit scrounging’. And so with this article, I thought i’d attempt to point out the inaccuracy that exists in a particular piece of complete fabrication that appears to be doing the rounds on twitter and on facebook. The misinformation in question is this:


Sometimes it is accompanied by a picture of a poor old white lady counting 1p coins with a melancholy look strewn across her impoverished face. Impoverished, due apparently, to the rich benefit cheating brown skinned family seeking asylum, pictured next to her. The pictures are added manipulations, but the key to the nonsense are the claims themselves. So let’s examine the claims. I’m going to take the asylum/illegal claim first, because it flows nicely into the pensioner claim.

Part One:
Illegal immigrants and Asylum Seekers pocket £29,900 a year in benefits. This suggests one of two things. Firstly, that illegal immigrants and asylum seekers are the same thing, and given the same benefits. And secondly, and I cannot stress the stupidity of this point enough… that illegal immigrants are actually entitled to benefits anyway. If you are illegally in the country, by definition, you cannot call up the Home Office and say: “Hi, erm, so i’m here illegally, snook in through Calais, my documents are fake, totally here illegally… do I get my twenty-nine grand in a lump sum, or every month? How does my illegal immigrant benefit work?” They have no legal status, including within the Welfare system.
Asylum seekers are different. To qualify for asylum, the guideline is quite clear:

Asylum is protection given by a country to someone who is fleeing persecution in their own country. It is given under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. To be recognised as a refugee, you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you have a well-founded fear of persecution.

The UK also adheres to the European Convention on Human Rights, which prevents us sending someone to a country where there is a real risk that they will be exposed to torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

– I am proud to live in a country that provides a safe haven for people who are persecuted, tortured, or threatened with degrading treatment in their home country. This is the mark of a civilised nation.

Here’s the cash sums that the Home Office says asylum seekers are entitled to:

  • Qualifying couple (married or in a civil partnership): £72.52
  • Lone parent aged 18 or over: £43.94
  • Single person aged 18 or over, excluding lone parent: £36.62
  • Person aged at least 16, but under 18 (except a member of a qualifying couple): £39.80
  • Person aged under 16: £52.96.

    The top point by the way, the mention of “civil partnerships”, so outraged the right winged press that the Express printed this little gem the next day:
    – Apparently gay asylum seekers (perhaps fleeing persecution from the horrifying Ugandan anti-gay laws, which is slowly leading to a genocide of gay people in the country) is a step TOO far for a Daily Express audience who dislike not only asylum seekers, but gay people too. Imagine if they were gay, asylum seekers, that didn’t like Princess Diana. The Express would implode with rage.

    Back to the entitlements set out above. If we are to compare, as the original email does, a single pensioner, with a single asylum seeker, we see that the asylum seeker is entitled to £36.62 a week. That is £1904.24 a year. That amounts to £5.22 a day. Asylum seekers, are entitled to a cash benefit of a little over £5 a day. That’s less than minimum wage for one hour’s work. So let’s have a bit of perspective.
    A Parliamentary briefing paper states:

    “People who require leave to enter or remain in the UK, but who do not have it, are ‘persons subject to immigration control’ within the meaning of section 115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and as such are not eligible for social security benefits, except those which depend on National Insurance contributions, such as contribution-based JSA. However, it is highly unlikely that a person in the UK without legal status will have a sufficient NI contribution record to gain entitlement to contributory benefits.”

    “Asylum seekers – i.e. persons waiting for a decision on an asylum application – are not entitled to mainstream non-contributory social security benefits including income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support and Housing Benefit. Instead, they may be eligible for accommodation and/or financial support from the UK Border Agency. Cash support for asylum seekers is less generous than social security benefits; for example, a single person.”

    – I am therefore, unable to find anything close to the £29,900 that the above print claims those seeking asylum in the UK are entitled to. It is simply a fabrication. Much like the idea that illegal immigrants are entitled to benefits. The daily allowance for asylum seekers is pittance, that most of us would be outraged if we even had it per hour. It is also worth point out that the number of people claiming asylum in the UK has dropped hugely since 2003. In 2003, the numbers were 80,123. At the end of 2012, the number was 20,182. A huge drop.

    Point Two:
    British old age pensioners yearly entitlement comes to just £6000. This is completely untrue. The minimum state pension credit guarantee, will top up your weekly income £145.40 for a single pensioner. This is £7560.80 a year. We should all agree, that this is far too low. However, it is £5656.56 more than an asylum seeker. But, the statement made speaks not simply of pension, but all benefits. So, we must also include the Fuel Allowance.
    If you are over 80, and you live alone, you also qualify for the Winter Fuel Allowance, worth £300 between November and December. Asylum seekers are not entitled to this. So that brings pensioner total to £7860.80 a year. This is now £5956.36 more than asylum seeker. We could also add council tax benefit and housing benefit to that list of benefits afforded to pensioners too. The point being, asylum seekers are entitled to next to nothing. They must have reason to be entitled to anything in the first place; meaning their lives are filled with fear, and they’ve fled their home to get away from the prospect of torture, degradation, or murder. £5 a day, does not qualify as ‘milking the system’.

    I am disheartened by the amount of people willing to simply accept such intensely misleading and so glaringly wrong claims, and to further perpetuate it. Inaccuracies over asylum and immigration are more subtly presented in the press because they seem to come with deeper information. Though, two seconds of research will note, just as misleading. Take this January headline from The Daily Mail: 130103mail
    – Instant attention grabbing headline for those who need this sort of hysteria to confirm their prejudices, regardless of whether or not its based on any fact. There’s also the by-line to throw in a bit of anti-EU rhetoric. The problem is, practically every word of this headline is wholly misleading.
    It is a written answer to a Parliamentary Question posed by Priti Patel MP and answered by Mark Harper at the Home Office. The Home Office say:

    “3,980 foreign nationals in the UK subject to deportation action living in the community.
    We continue to pursue removal in all these cases. The principal barriers to removal are non-compliance on the part of individuals which means we have insufficient evidence of nationality and identity to obtain a travel document, ongoing legal challenges and the situations in countries of return.””

    – What this means is, firstly, the suggestion that we “can’t throw out” is completely misleading, as these foreign nationals are currently under deportation action, and may very well be ‘thrown out’, they are just under investigation. It is true that the Daily Mail can’t, right this second, throw them into the English Channel with cannons levelled at them if they attempt to swim back. And secondly, nowhere in the Home Office answer does it mention the crimes that these foreign nationals have committed. There is no break down of their crimes, anywhere. Therefore, The Daily Mail added “murderers and rapists” to affect. When presented with the fact that they’d blatantly just invented a non-story, for shock value, the Mail issued this apology:

    – You might just be able to see it, underneath the other completely misleading anti-immigrant story, and the enticing Asda ad. Or maybe not. Because instead of being an apology on the front page, where the original misleading story was, it is instead printed, in small at the very bottom of the fourth page. The correction reads:

    “The headline of an article on 3 January suggested that there are 4,000 foreign murderers and rapists in the UK who cannot be deported.
    We are happy to clarify that, as the article stated, the figure in fact refers to 3,980 foreign criminals, including murderers and rapists, who are currently subject to deportation orders.”

    I am unsure who is to blame for this age of hysteria. Is it the people, for providing a market place for publications like the Mail to flourish? There is obviously a market for hysteria. Sensationalism sells. Weak conjecture, presented in a couple of hundred words, that require no real thought on the part of the reader, sells. People must surely shoulder some of the blame, if they are to read statements like the pensioner/asylum statements without actually questioning it. Perhaps the education system is failing to cultivate curious minds, and instead works to produce minds that accept. Curiosity must be valued and promoted. That is how we progress.

    Maybe the people rely too heavily on the press for information within a democratic framework; perhaps we put our trust in the news media; perhaps we delegate our responsibility to understand and to question, to those we feel are qualified to do so, without actually knowing who those people are. We trust them in their capacity to shape and indeed, create the prevailing discourse of the time. Perhaps it is a mixture of both. The papers promote, and the readers perpetuate hostility based on distortions and nonsense. Either way, it is then no surprise to me, that the UK currently has such a vicious right winged government that relies on such a manipulative right winged press to push its message and its goals.

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  • 117 Responses to The Age of Hysteria

    1. Ruth Hickey says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    2. Mark Stephen says:

      A well presented balanced summary of facts, usual hate hype by the usual suspects.

    3. Bex says:

      What an absolute load of rubbish!!! People aren’t concerned whether they are asylum seekers or illegal immigrants or even just immigrants it’s the fact that 75% of all benefits claimed in the UK are claimed by people who ARE NOT British let alone several generation British!!

      Be like France and kick them all out!!!!

    4. According to DWP figures, and put up by the BBC:
      “As of February 2011, there were 5.5m people receiving working-age benefits. Some 371,000 of those were foreign nationals when they first came to the UK, representing 6.4% of the claimants.”

      Feel free to present where you get the figure of 75% from.

    5. D Walker says:

      I have to read this again and again before i can committ without predjudice, im convinced that you too are being totally misled . Between 1986 & 1992 i had first hand knowledge of people from another country benefitting over me to the point i was taken to court to have my house repossessed as the Nigerian people living in my flat had been given housing benefit by Barnet council which they failed to pay to the letting agent on my property, fortunately for other people the law has since been changed where local councils pay housing benefits direct to the building owner.
      Your statement, and of those people who are suffering because of the law depicts are unrest is due to personal payments made to non British nationals who are (sponging) on our resources, this is not the case

      I can see no arguement with personal payments to asylum seekers,immigrants are also here for a reason,and need personal payments to survive whilst they are in the UK. But where we the British public draw the line is all the other additional benefits that are paid to keep families together.
      The Govt make payments for property to house members of a family to keep them together, (this is what the Asylum/immigrants should be working for themselves when they arrive – Not have it handed on a plate.
      Like it or not this will end when You (the govt) cease the NHS, and national insurance contributions, you want us the general public to pay privately for all our medical bills , BUT are you putting our salaries up to compensate for the added expense? NO you put our retirement age up – do you think we are idiots????
      This does not compute the elderly become infirm quicker for having to work longer in to their golden ( golden starts after the age of 50).
      There is no proof on the percentages of elderly people who stay healthier/fitter into their 50s/60s only that longevity is longer.
      There has never been such unrest in this country since the wars we fought on YOUR behalf and won, we colonised half the world so YOU could return to the righful leaders and get a pat on the back ( im not complaining about it) just pointing out the cost both in monetry terms and loss of life and to what end? please do tell.
      I too approach retirement but have to continue until im 65 (now another 10 years). I have been in poor health for the last two years due to a generic defect but never wanted to retire on ill health.
      To conclude my comment ; i have travelled this world far and wide and the clear message i have received throughout it is ” this is my country not yours if you dont like it go back to your own country (the UK)” except I dont feel like Im welcome there either we are treated like foreigners here too….Time to man up UK

    6. Steve Stevens says:

      Thank you!
      However kind of bemused that such a well written piece could house this glaring error
      ‘ I have wrote previously on The Sun’s manipulations,`
      Surely ‘written’ is the word required?

    7. You’re right.
      I always find the odd mistake here and there in my articles whenever I read over them. Easily done. Should have corrected it.

    8. Tage Wood says:

      D. Walker – Asylum seekers are not allowed by law to work in this country for the first 12 months. So I really don’t see how they can earn the right for their family to stay together.

    9. Tina Brown says:

      A two bedroom flat in Wandworth is £1600 per month – this cost is paid for by the tax payer. Travel costs can be claimed, Council Tax payments, free prescriptions. Even mobile phones and computers are being given. Translators are a huge cost which every person is entitled to for 30 minutes each visit. New furniture bought if required. The list goes on.

    10. Excellent piece, thank you.

      I have met many asylum seekers who would love to be able to work and contribute while they are awaiting a decision on their case, it is our laws which prevent them from doing so. Many volunteer their time in local charities working hard for no financial gain at all.

    11. Susan Wardle says:

      It is a good piece, but I’m not sure to whom it’s addressed.The various idiotic comments here demonstrate the depth of wilful ignorance that people can be capable of when coming from an anti- immigrant perspective. It’s racism, no doubt fuelled by an inability to think clearly and to know fact from fiction, but racism nonetheless. I am surprised that you’re surprised, but I wouldn’t waste too much energy in the future “myth-busting”- they are not interested in the facts, as some of these comments show.

    12. 20,000+ views for this post in less than 24 hours. All from Facebook. I’d like to know which page posted it on there!

    13. Catherine says:

      I really enjoyed this article, thank you for writing it! And by the way, I saw it on facebook, shared by a friend, she’d shared it from another friend etc… can’t help you find out where it started, but bet you’re intrigued! I feel very reassured that it has gone viral so quickly, must mean there are a good number of similarly minded people out there too, which is one hell of a relief!
      I was disappointed to see such racist comments on here, but sadly, not surprised. I just find it frustrating – how can this mindset be changed? Surely education is key, but what about the adults that aren’t willing to learn and change their ways? I guess we just have to wait for the next generation, to a certain extent?
      Anyhow, thanks again, and I shall share this post on facebook too to keep spreading the word!!

    14. Si says:

      Lol at D Walker’s “generic defect”!

      Thanks for finding the time to research and write this.

    15. Kate says:

      Thank you for this article. People’s ignorance and ease at believing some of these clearly manipulated figures never ceases to amaze me. Are we really living in such a foolish and unfeeling society.

      There are always exceptions to any rule but we should be careful not to tar everyone with the same brush, nor should we believe that everyone’s moral compass is pointing in the same direction as our own (some of them somewhat deviated!)

    16. Graham Chadwick says:

      Good stuff but I’m alarmed that facebook cautioned me that this might be “malicious” – Does somebody not like you? I wouldn’t be surprised

    17. sirlynn says:

      I like you article it is really well presented – but where is my money then…i have worked since i was 16 and needed help from the government on only two occasions and both times it has been a battle and i have been informed the money isnt there……so although the rubbish spewed out by bad misinformed journalists is questionable it does lead to my initial question – where is my money.
      I have to be completely honest I dont want to share any more the race, creed, colour, religion doesn’t matter – I dont want to share my social credits with anyone any more – mean but honest…….but well done for breaking down the info and sharing –

    18. Claire says:

      Bex- how misinformed can one person be?! 75% of beneits are claimed by people who aren’t British?! Are you mad? For a start, the biggest majority of our welfare budget is old age pensions. As in that money that has been spoken about above if you’d even care to read the article!!

      Brilliant article though! Thank you 😀

    19. Dan Ranger says:

      You find the “odd” mistake in your articles?

      “The hysterically inaccurate information that we are sometimes presented with so quickly and so easily due entirely to the speed of communication via the internet; can just as quickly and easily be discredited and dismissed.”

      a) that’s not a paradox by any definition of the word

      b) that’s not how you use a semi-colon by any stretch of the imagination

      “I have wrote previously on The Sun’s manipulations”

      Written, not wrote.

      “To qualify for asylum, the guideline is quite clear:”

      The guidelines are, not the guideline is, as you present more than one guideline in paragraphs which follow.

      “- I am proud to live in a country”

      What’s the hyphen at the start of that sentence for?

      “Here’s the cash sums”

      Here ARE the cash sums – the word “sums” is a plural.

      ” the right winged press ”

      Right WING press, unless you were making a joke, which I doubt.

      “the horrifying Ugandan anti-gay laws, which is slowly leading to a genocide of gay people in the country”

      Which are, not which is.

      “Asylum seekers, are entitled to a cash benefit of a little over £5 a day.”

      Only a lunatic would think a comma belonged where you have placed it in that sentence.

      “It is also worth point out”

      Pointing out, not point out.

      “pensioners yearly entitlement”

      Pensioners’ yearly entitlement.

      “The minimum state pension credit guarantee, will top up your weekly income £145.40 for a single pensioner.”

      Only a lunatic would think a comma belonged where you have placed it in that sentence.

      “We should all agree, that this is far too low.”

      Only a lunatic would think a comma belonged where you have placed it in that sentence.

      “I am disheartened by the amount of people ”

      No, you are disheartened by the NUMBER of people.

      “so glaringly wrong claims, and to further perpetuate it”

      SUCH glaringly wrong claims, and to further perpetuate THEM.

      “And secondly, no where”

      Nowhere, not no where.

      “I am unsure who is to blame for this age of hysteria. Is it the people, for providing a market place for publications like the Mail to flourish?”

      “…if they are to read statements like the pensioner/asylum statements without actually questioning it”

      Questioning them, not it.

      “Perhaps the education system is failing…”

      It would certainly appear they are failing to teach the basic rules of English grammar, yes.

      The point of this piece was to highlight the dangers of the pace at which false information could be propagated via the internet, but your concluding paragraph deals ENTIRELY with newspapers and their sales, the reliance of people on the press, and the trust we place in the media.

      I’ll give you a D+ though, because the message you are attempting to deliver through this poorly written and poorly constructed article, is at least admirable.

    20. As stated on my “About the Author” page:

      “Everything said on this blog, is simply rather heatedly put together opinion.”

      I’m not a journalist, nor a professional writer. I just like to arrange my thoughts, and this is my personal space to do that.

      I’m also quite certain that I would rather be someone who makes mistakes in my own blogs, than someone who takes it upon themselves to use the phrase “I’ll give you a D+”. You have actually gone through my article, and picked out mistakes. I cannot get my head around how someone considers that anything but horrendous arrogance. A most obvious superiority complex. I read plenty of blogs daily, many contain structural or grammatical mistakes. This isn’t a problem. I understand the nature of blogging. It is just an outlet, usually to vent or to express. That’s it. And it’s often just – as noted above – heatedly put together. I don’t charge anyone to read it, it is just an arrangement of my thoughts. And the language and structure is much of the time written as I think of it. Heatedly is the best way I can describe how I feel when I write. I then publish immediately. I should probably sit and read through mistakes and correct them. I get that. Nevertheless, this place is simply an outlet for expression of self. It is produced with that as the primary motivation. Nothing more. I don’t claim this blog to be any different, and so I’m not sure what you’re grading me for. I didn’t actually participate in your test in the first place.

    21. Dan Ranger says:

      That’s absolutely no excuse – if you are writing in a published forum, do it properly lest you propagate your appalling habits. I also don’t believe for one second the the speed at which wrote this alone is responsible for the glaring and basic errors you have made.

    22. It’s an excuse you’re going to have to learn to deal with I’m afraid.

      I wish you all the luck in the World with that.

    23. I also don’t believe you went through this article correcting, for the sake of correcting “appalling habits”. The language you used quite obviously points to announcing a sense of superiority. That was the motivation for your post.

    24. Also:

      “I also don’t believe for one second the the speed at which wrote this alone is responsible”
      – I believe you mean “…one second THAT the speed at which YOU wrote this alone…”

      I give you a D+ for propagating your terrible habits in a public forum.

    25. Jamie says:

      Dan Ranger: The numerous mistakes in your own comments undermines any spurious point you may once have had. Kindly desist.

      Futile Democracy: Fantastic post, thank you.

    26. […] answer for when it comes to propagating myths and lies, not least among them being The Daily Mail. Futile Democracy breaks down the use of xenophobia-fuelled propaganda on the issue of asylum seekers and immigration […]

    27. Justabloke says:

      Dan Ranger: bigotted pedant hiding his/her views behind a 6th former’s argumentative style. Get an opinion you dickhead.

      Sirlynn, I don’t know where YOUR tax money is, probably sitting in an off shore haven. The point is though none of it is ours, no matter who has got it you give up the right to that money as soon as you give it to the government in tax or NI.

      The government then attempts to justify how it re-distributes that wealth via the press. And so that you don’t point the finger at them for making a complete cock up, their acolytes make us turn on each other by spouting the racist and divisive nonesense we see in the right wing media (SKY news included)

    28. Damion says:

      Dan Ranger: what exactly is your point? What does incorrect grammar have to do with the actual content presented?

      Good stuff on the article; I’ll be sure to check out your other posts.

    29. David says:

      Good article well written, I don’t think it will have an effect on those who believe the media hype, if only a few people read and understand, then your blog has been worth the time writing.
      I do not care about my grammar in this post the fact that I have responded is enough.

    30. Bex: 75% of benefits paid to non-nationals? Nonsense, show me the source of this figure

    31. D Walker: There are many points in your comment, may I please attempt deal with some of them?

      Your statement about your tenants non-payment is troubling – but not relevant because a British born family could have done exactly the same, could they not? And from my limited experience of landlord and tenant matters – some British born families do. You want a change in landlord and tenant law, not asylum law.

      You say “The Govt make payments for property to house members of a family to keep them together, (this is what the Asylum /immigrants should be working for themselves when they arrive – Not have it handed on a plate.”

      I completely agree. The Daily Mail does not. I think asylum seekers should be allowed to work for all they can. They are not allowed to work. Indeed we have had more than one example of world-renowned surgeons who wished to save lives in the UK while they applied for asylum but were not permitted to do so. This is nonsense, isn’t it?

      “Like it or not this will end when You (the govt) cease the NHS, and national insurance contributions, you want us the general public to pay privately for all our medical bills , BUT are you putting our salaries up to compensate for the added expense? NO you put our retirement age up – do you think we are idiots????”

      Here’s the problem. The stamps you have paid have not covered the pension you are receiving (or that I hope to receive). And the government do not pay your salaries (unless you are a civil servant, which would just mean tax for everyone else). I believe in the NHS and in public pensions – but I know that retirement age will have to be put up because the NHS works: we are all living longer, and that costs on our pensions.

      “This does not compute the elderly become infirm quicker for having to work longer in to their golden ( golden starts after the age of 50). There is no proof on the percentages of elderly people who stay healthier/fitter into their 50s/60s only that longevity is longer.”

      There is evidence – any insurer will tell you that retiring is bad for your health. People in work live longer and are healthier unless they work in unhealthy jobs. My view is that people in unhealthy jobs should have enhanced pension benefits – but that’s another story. Those in office jobs not only live longer/healthier in work but also save on heating and other costs. (Look at health/life insurance prices online for working people to confirm).

      “we colonised half the world so YOU could return to the righful leaders and get a pat on the back” No, D Walker, the British largely colonised the world for their own purposes – and we certainly benefitted. Certainly the British fought in world wars for which others benefitted – but that was our bad luck for being the closest island to Germany. We did also, of course, fight in our own interest.

      But, for the record, I have never felt a stranger in my own country. I am also alive to the nonsense like that exposed above. Like it or not (and it seems many people don’t) there are many jobs, especially in the NHS where we need foreign workers. The language of the press describes them all as bloodsuckers. That’s just wrong.

    32. Mike Gordon says:

      Dear Dan , Please get out more. The point of language both spoken and written is for the transmission of ideas and thoughts. We can all (well most of us) understand text speak and abbreviations in emails, just read, understand and move on. If you were in my local pub and insisted on correcting people for their flagrant misuse of the English language you’d get your face rearranged. I suspect this would happen in most pubs. I understood perfectly what was being said in the article , and as far as i’m concerned that’s “job done”. One thing that does confuse me is why the government doesn’t appear to write to the papers insisting that they publish prominent corrections ; every government department has it’s own press office who read large piles of newspapers every day , it’s not that they are unaware of these inaccuracies. I believe it is true that most people accept what they read as being true or at least mostly true , however i can’t think very many people will take the trouble to check the accuracy of these statements. It would probably also be in the interests of the government of the day to attempt to make more headline news when they throw out some genuine spongers , murderers to demonstrate that they are actively chasing the guilty/undeserving few to help correct the myth that almost anyone can walk in here to “our” country and claim benefits. I’d like to see a further article on the perception that the whole of Eastern Europe is trying to come to live here and claim benefits within weeks . If this is indeed true I’d like to seem them all deported immediately and could we also change the law so they had to take a pedant with them.

    33. mil torbica says:

      DAN RANGER YOU’RE A PRICK …Oh no, sorry Sir, I mean ‘..your a prick’:o)

    34. Frank Dawber says:

      All information is misleading form all sides. The a/seekers get much more than this article says or are living in tents You can make light of any statement but the concern isn’t what they get But how many are there and in 40 years they will outbreed us We have 2.3 they have 5 or more Those are figures that can’t be fudged to suit . Look at Bradford 40 years a go a few non ethnics are wall to wall now , multiply that across the country along with illegals breeding …..

    35. Steve Stevens says:

      Just a nit picking nitwit with nothing of worth to add no doubt.

    36. Stephen D says:

      Please provide this evidence Frank Dawber. You talk of figures that cnanot be fudged, but then dont provide any evidence or reputable sources.
      What is a “non ethnic”? Ethnicity is a trait of everyone. If someone is pakistani or indian, their ethnicity is “Pakistani” or “Indian” or “british”, depending on how they identify themselves within the community. I can only assume you are meaning ” Non-White-British”

      On a side note
      In real terms, for the sake of humanity, we should all be restricted to 2 , and no more children. But thats just my personal opinion based on global resources available.

    37. will says:

      Soon to be pensioners in this country have had it better then any other generation before them. They have not had to fight a war, they had free university education if they wanted it, they all bought assests (homes) that skyrocketed in value, many have very beneficial final salary etc pension arrangements the likes of which we will never see again. Finally they get the benefit of the ‘triple lock’ which is completely unsustainable and damaging to this country’s future.

    38. james says:

      Can anybody explain why that soldier was beheaded and who by?

    39. HRH Ranjam Rockboy says:

      Dan Ranger: “I also don’t believe for one second the the speed at which wrote this alone is responsible for the glaring and basic errors you have made.”

      And yet you disprove your own point admirably in a mere two sentence post.

      Your arrogance is misplaced.

    40. Ahmat Issa says:

      Very interesting analysis, it really is.
      While reading all I have in mind was Malcolm X statement on media when he said this: ”The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses”. I guess this applies to nowadays media isn’t? Unfortunately they managed to ‘conquer’ people’s mind.

    41. A well written article that states what most sensible people already know to be true. The penalty of having a “free press” is that they are free to express their own prejudices and present them as “truth” by manipulation of figures that may or may not be true. The other penalty of a “free press” is that so many accept what they read, especially if it is in large letters on the front page, thereby making the purchase of the newspaper unnecessary, as true. Those same people, of course, are those who continually post and repost the same nonsense on Facebook and in other social networks.

    42. Cassandra says:

      Great article, thank you! Have shared on social media as it’s about time that some proper facts and figures were presented rather than completely made up crap that passes for journalism these days.

    43. andy says:

      Safe to say Dan Ranger is a knobhead. Nice article by the way.

    44. Bmud says:

      The figures on here aren’t actually that accurate…Irony! Sad that people, as you say, will just believe what you say due to preconceived prejudism. Nothing against your point as it is all sensationalised and the other articles are most likely wrong too. But nonetheless, hypocrisy thy name is you.

    45. Kirsty says:

      For Dan Ranger and anyone else who read this blog and – rather than hearing the message being communicated or even just reading with interest someone else’s opinion on an issue (the purpose of a blog) – decided to expend their energies on not only seeking out every grammatical error they could find but actually, in one case, grading this persons blog (BLOG – I say again BLOG – I think the purpose of which was well explained by the author) – maybe you should listen to this ‘rant’ from the amazing (and extremely well educated) Stephen Fry on the issue of grammatical pedantry.

      (Great blog post BTW Futile Democracy – I will be sharing).

    46. Jen says:

      5 and a half million people claim DWP working age
      benefits. Of these 371 thousand (6.4%) are
      estimated to have been non-UK nationals
      when they first registered for a national insurance number. (source department of work and pensions) Of this 371 thousand, 25% are from the EU. I would love to hear more from Bex about where she got 75% from. Did you really mean 75% of the 5.5 Million claiming benefits were not UK nationals? 4.1 million? Surely you missed a decimal point, in that case you were close.

    47. Lola says:

      Frank Dawber and others using the term ‘breeding’ – I really do take offence to your use of the term to liken normal human reproduction, in the instance of foreign nationals, to that of farm animals. Any particular reason, or a bad case of ongoing ignorance and misplaced superiority?

      Separately, my main issue with many people’s attitude to immigration into the UK is the double standards held by a fair proportion – how many of those people have thought how nice it would be to move to Spain when they retire, or relocate their families to Australia, etc. etc.? Would they be bloodsuckers too? Or is it acceptable because they have the same skin colour as the majority of the population in the mentioned countries? Please, I would welcome an enlightening as to how this is not hypocritical.

      That aside, brilliant article which needed to be written – since we appear to be grading, A*.

    48. Steve Stevens says:

      Yep, articles like this certainly bring out the Nazi in some people.
      Even those that appear to believe they have quite liberal viewpoints seem to have latent tendencies and prejudices they’re not aware of.

    49. Frank Dawber says:

      Breeding , reproduction whatever. People who dig their heads in the sand and just spout off long essays are the first to call others extreme right wing names … No matter how you dress it up all it takes is for people to go into any town and look at the population then do the maths .

    50. Jenn says:

      I loved the article. Have shared with friends!
      However my friend made a point I just wanted to ask about.. Housing benefit, which varies by location, can comprise quite a chunk of cash. Just wondering if you have some stats on that? Out of interest entirely as I think the vitriol spouted by these publications and silly Facebook posts is just flat-out predjudice or ignorance.

    51. Sue says:

      You asked where this page was linked by Facebook, well I saw it on Atos Miracles, a group for people currently being assessed by ATOS and the DWP for ESA benefit.

    52. Susan Wardle says:

      Hi Jen-people seeking asylum are provided with accommodation until their claim has been determined. They do not receive Housing Benefit but are housed by housing providers(usually private landlords) who receive payment directly from the Government. They usually provide older or hard to let properties, sometimes shared accommodation. I don’t have any stats but they charge a great deal for the properties, that can’t be denied. Even so, the total annual cost of an asylum seeker is way less than the ludicrous figure of £29, 000 p.a. Illegal immigrants are of course entitled to nothing from the State.

    53. Bankhead says:

      This was beautiful. Thank you.

    54. Mandy says:

      Very interesting report, perhaps you’d like to look into the unfairness of the benefit system for British nationals.
      My husband and I are in our 40s, have always worked, him full time, me full time then cut to 22 hours a week after birth of daughter with a disability 17 years ago.
      The week before Christmas my husband lost his job, tried obtaining a new one ( construction management) but no joy and decided last week that would have to register for unemployment benefit. He went for his interview only to be told that he was not entitled to anything because he has had to register as self employed for 8 months of the last two years ( company policy for the job that he was on). No regard for the past 30 years, so now we are left to survive on my 22 hour a week wage.
      Please explain why this is fair.

    55. Susan Wardle says:

      If I might reply to you Mandy, I don’t think that’s fair at all. However I don’t see the relevance of your problem to the article. People with Leave to Remain in the UK are subject to the same benefit rules, fair and unfair, as the rest of us. People seeking asylum are not allowed to work or claim benefits.

    56. Claire says:

      Mandy it’s clearly not fair. Are you assuming though that this only applies to poor white folk?

    57. Claire says:

      “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
      LYNDON B. JOHNSON, 1960, remark to Bill Moyers, “What a Real President Was Like,” Washington Post, 13 November 1988

    58. Rachel says:

      Thank you for writing this. I think the points you have made are really interesting. I appreciate it is an opinion, but there is always more to the story than can be written in one short article.

      I work with a lot of immigrants to the country and there are two sides to the story. I know families who struggle to put food on the table for their children because they are not entitled to benefits. I also know families who get housing benefits due to the country they come from and they have part time work here with children in education. I also know of British families who struggle to put food on the table due to problems with benefits and job seekers, and families who are on benefits who can afford to buy their children new mobiles etc.

      The fact is that you will never have a society which is completely fair. You will always have people who are unable to work due to disabilities, people who have retired and people who have come into the country. We pay taxes and national insurance because part of our responsibility as members of society is to help support those less fortunate or able. We should be proud of this country for doing the right thing by a lot of people in terms of benefits and supporting them. I also think we have a lot to be disappointed about in terms of the way the government decides new policy and implements it for a wide range of issues. There is no right or wrong answer, there are only facts and opinions. The world will never be perfect because everyone has a different idea of what perfect is. All we can do is try and make it good enough.

    59. Don says:

      Well written. Totally right and morally on compass. I am saddened by most of what I read but some balance has been redressed here thank you for this. We all need to calm the funk down and realise that life is hard for so many and stop vilifying the minority. I am grateful I don’t need to travel far from all I love just to live a life less awful.

    60. Ad says:

      I absolutely detest homophobia and racism, and thought this was a superb article until the completely unnecessary final line, with its own unqualified throw-away ‘vicious right wing government’ comment, feeding the prejudices of its audience in exactly the way the Mail and Express do. It may be a convenient rabble-rouser to call the current government ‘vicious’ and no doubt you’d justify it by shouting ‘bedroom tax!’ ‘benefit cuts’ – but then stay very, very quiet about the increased income tax threshold, which means we ALL get to keep more of what we earn, reducing the need for benefits in the first place. Those on the lowest incomes gain the most, in terms of percentage of their income. Staggeringly huge amounts of benefits don’t even get claimed because the system for claiming them is so absurdly complicated. There are so many kinds of benefits that many people who might be eligible for them probably haven’t even heard of them. But the ‘vicious’ George Osbourne’s efforts to simplify the crazy system never, ever gets reported. Only what’s being taken away. So while the right wing press ARE utterly despicable, I find the left wing propaganda just as bad. Financially, I’m comfortable but far from rich. I find the showy rich, running around in Porsches, particularly distasteful. But I’m sick of the childish ‘hate Thatcher, hate all Tories’, ‘Tories love bankers and hate the poor’, ‘Tories are vicious’ nonsense. That unnecessary final line really disappointed me!
      I know I’m in for a whole host of nasty Tory policies that prove me misinformed or plain wrong… in which case, fair enough. But please note I’m not saying the Tories are lovely, just that no career politicians are, and that (back on topic at last) the left-leaning press include what they choose to, and make convenient omissions, just like the right.

    61. Whilst I totally accept your disagreement with me on that, “vicious” was the kindest phrase I could think of to describe them.

    62. MU says:

      Frank Dawber – please save your racist comments for the Daily Mail.

      Great article – refreshing to have someone on the migrants’ side for a change!

    63. Mandy says:

      No I don’t believe that this happens to ‘poor white people’ only, I feel that it is unfair that it happens to anyone who has worked in Britain since leaving school and is rejected by the benefits system when it is needed.

    64. Frank Dawber says:

      My remarks are not racist just realistic I do not say any harm to non ethnic beings nor do I say send them back . I do not offer an answer to the situation I just want people to stop blathering on with figures and accept what is happening and think where their part will be in society or rather their offspring in 40 years or so. .. Just to consider nothing else

    65. Non-ethnic person says:

      Frank Dawber, what does “non-ethnic” mean? Do you realise that such term does not exist and therefore your statement means nothing? And also, using “non-ethnic” doesn’t make you seem any less racist, if that’s what you’re trying to do by using it.

      To the author:
      Congratulations on the great article, and thank you for exposing the “ugly” truth.

    66. Non-ethnic person says:

      I also thing that you (Frank), should actually take a look at the official numbers, rather than going to every town in the UK to count how many British (I believe you’d look for white) people there are and how many of them claim benefits. The UK should have thought of the problem with the multiculturalism BEFORE they invaded 1/4th of the world.

      It is also an interesting fact that many people would happily shout “close the borders, kick them out”, but yet would happily go abroad and “steal jobs”. Hypocritical much?

    67. Frank Dawber says:

      Yesterday it was breeding against reproduction. Today non ethnic …. The only thing futile is this log in that its a load verbal do do’s .. I’m not a highly educated person and not used to writing in logs so my spelling and grammar will be poor however all I would like to do is make people think about the wider picture. . I don’t care who gets what and why

    68. Non-ethnic person says:

      It’s not about grammar and education, everyone with basic common sense would know that EVERY PERSON is of some ethnicity – therefore there are no “non-ethnic” people anywhere in the world, so the expression you’re looking for is “non-British”, “non-indigenous” or “non-white(which is logically what you seem to mean by saying non-ethnic)”.
      If you didn’t know that, you do know.

    69. Frank Dawber says:

      That I accept , I should have said none ethnic British. But I would set the qualification back to 1930. But that would start a whole new discussion

    70. micky trbojevic says:

      I moved here as an asylum seeker in 1999 after the bombing of serbia,on basis of wanting a peaceful life,my family never had any problems financially in the Balkans,but the fact that we moved around for 10 years of war had a massive impact on us and we decided enough is enough.When we came here we were chucked in a horrid hostel and spent 2 days there with just a coffee machine and no food.We used our own money to buy sandwiches,and were then moved to a council estate in east london,where we had to go through the DSS office to apply for an accomodation etc.My father was not allowed to apply for a work permit for 6 months and when he eventually did apply he was knocked back which meant we had to survive on £100 a week(family of four) and used our own money to get by.My father finally got his work permit after 10 months and got a job straight away to be able to support us.All of us went through college/uni to be able to adapt to living in this country and all of us are current tax payers,and I know many people who were in the same situation like us and now fully contribute to the system.So not everyone foreign is a sponger,but on the other hand there are dodgy people as well,whether they are foreign or british!

    71. Tim Diggles says:

      The costs of welcoming asylum seekers is actually tiny in compared with the overall Government expenditure. The UK is the 8th largest economy and morally should be helping those who have nothing and are in danger. For those of us, like me, who exist on benefits (mine through illness) the total sums given to asylum seekers in housing and so forth sound huge, remember they arrive with nothing. Even for me in one of the lowest rent cities and a UK born person the sum in total annually also sounds huge. I worked for over 30 years, paying tax and NI, but I never worried about people claiming because the system in place is there to catch you when, like me, unforeseen circumstances happen. What this mainly is is racism.

    72. Colin says:

      Frank – you just don’t get it do you!

    73. frank dawber says:

      i would love to say what i think about the majority of contributors but it wouldn’t be printed…i’m 57 and won’t be around when the tipping point happens . I hope all the nicey nicey classes will still be allowed to have an open discussion and live their lives as they wish..i’ll keep looking at this log as i’m of the opinion that the majority of contributors are under 40.
      So it’s goodbye from me for now at least

    74. Jake says:

      Just going to get my grammar out of the way first… ‘:”!erm…,?. Fact is we could cover the welfare budget without too much trouble if public sector luncheons and “hospitality” (do I need a comma here? I forget…. oh FUCK OFF pedantic MUPPET) were shelved. The amount of taxpayers money spent to save chronically mismanaged financial institutions and the ridiculous cost of our recent touchy feely, “embedded media”, “hearts & minds”, Crusader style, NOT FOR OIL!!!!, Unwars *(see Gil Scott Heron – BMOVIE), could cover the welfare bill for the next decade easily. As a British Citizen who can trace my family’s “Britishness” back to the middle ages, is that enough??? and with first hand experience as an economic migrant in Holland, Spain and Australia I genuinely despair at the bullshit presented in the media, lets face it even BBC News is a fucking magazine show these days. If you drag yourself half way round the world and have something to offer, fair play to you! The arguments presented here are distressing, the polarisation of humans into “ism’s” is the single most depressing development in our history, Being a Feminist or a Muslim or a Christian or British or Fascist or Socialist, right wing or left automatically makes you prejudice by definition regardless of the axe you have to grind or the nobility of your founding manifesto. Make your own minds up case by case! Do some research.. wow! totally up for a rant there but got bored – JUST WATCH IDIOCRACY AND TELL ME IT ISN’T HAPPENING NOW!

    75. Jake says:

      I would like to state that Grammar is important to me and whimsical misuse of the English language is to be discouraged!

    76. Matt Charman says:

      Excellent post. My only fear is that when I post it on FB the thumbnail comes up as the meme you use for illustrative purposes – I hope nobody thinks I’m the kind of intellectual pygmy who would endorse such reactionary drivel!

    77. Susan Wardle says:

      I am 61, Frank, so please don’t try to enrol me in your club. I have never been a xenophobic Little Englander and never could be. Age has nothing to do with it.

    78. Isabel says:

      @Dan Ranger: You have used a split infinitive in your comment. Unacceptable. I give you a C for English and an E- for personality, for being so arrogant and self-important. Guess what – not everyone’s forte is grammar. Should they not be allowed to write? Should we chop their hands off? Some people are no good at drawing. Some people are rubbish at maths. Maybe it’s time to rid our society of these hangers-on.

    79. sarah says:

      Whilst i agree with the sentiment behind your article, many (not all) asylum seekers are also entitled to housing benefit, council tax benefit etc on top of their basic payments. i still do not imagine that this would lead to a payment of £29,000 a year, but it would equate to more than £5 a day.

    80. Susan Wardle says:

      I know we are all trying to simplify a complex subject, Sarah, but let’s be clear that people seeking asylum are not entitled to housing or council tax benefit as such. They are provided with accommodation until their claim is finally determined, and this is paid for by government, direct to the housing provider. The properties are very often poor quality, hard to let and for single people, often shared with strangers. There is no security and little privacy. The people can be moved on with almost no notice, so it’s just a case of shelter from the elements-nothing that we would consider goes with having a home.

    81. I got fed up reading your article, but I do have to take you to task on one point that I did read. I am a single pensioner who worked for 44 years in the UK. My annual pension is £6007, not a penny more!! I certainly have not been offered a top up of any kind, though there are months when I could certainly do with one. As for the fuel allowance, I am not 80 years old and am not likely to reach that age, my fuel allowance is £200.00 per annum. I admit that this allowance helps towards the cost of heating my home, and I am grateful for it, however, as my average annual heating bill is no less than £1,400, I think you will agree that the allowance is a pittance. I am unaware of where you get your “facts” from but I think you need to check them again. Clearly they are not all right and really my life is too short to waste time reading your full article.

    82. Susan Wardle says:

      Marlene, I’m afraid I don’t see why you would comment on an article that you can’t be bothered reading. I see no significant errors in the article. I accept what you say about your annual income but perhaps you should be claiming pension credit to increase it? The other “top-ups” probably refer to housing benefit and I accept not everyone needs to claim it. Life is indeed short-much too short to waste on resentment of others and prejudice without knowledge and awareness.

    83. knattyknits says:

      Just as much as I’m saddened by the number of morons regurgitating right-wing nonsense, I’m cheered by the number of intelligent people trying to quash the nonsense and spread the truth. I was wondering earlier, based on the reaction to Benefits Street, what could actually be done to get everyone in the county to know the truth about our welfare system – we need blogs like this, constantly, to slowly chip away at the nonsense being spewed by the media and government.

      One question: are asylum seekers entitled to other benefits, such as housing benefit? This could extend their income closer to that which people are describing, although it’s still a ridiculous amount. I too am proud to live in a country that gives asylum to those in need, and supports the most vulnerable in society (or did, until the Tories got in and ATOS came along).

      After graduating, I worked full time and paid my taxes, NI and student loans. When I became sick, I spent ten years trying to get help and answers from the NHS. When I got sicker, I had to stop working and discovered I didn’t qualify for benefits as I didn’t have the right kind of illness – pain and fatigue do not figure in their assessments. Some others in my situation would blame immigrants for taking their money; I blame the government for playing the public like a fiddle, and getting them so worked up that they applaud when disability benefits are cut. We should all be ashamed.

    84. Susan Wardle says:

      Knattyknits, I have already posted twice on the housing costs issue. WordPress have told me off for repeating myself. So I can only suggest you look at my comment above.

    85. lawrence hawes says:

      This articles accounting only factors what a claimant receives not what it costs to process the claim (I.e. Wages for administration, legal fees and banking fees etc)

      Whilst I agree with the point of the article it’s accuracy is limited, but hey I didn’t go to the research the writer did so props for looking at the issue

    86. There’s an old Internet phrase; “Do not feed the trolls”. If we can’t trust people who write professionally then we need amature and unprofessional writers. They may not have the time to properly proof read everything they want to share.

      I have to agree that it’s a matter of pride to live in a country which gives asylum to those who need it.

    87. I cannot believe the sheer amount of ad hom attacks in the comments section. Laughable really.

      Good article by the way; glad to see some of these myths being debunked.

    88. slwardle says:

      I would like to thank AD for his/her balanced comments which most closely mirror my own thoughts . To heap opprobrium on a whole group ,nationality or in our case the Govt.and even perhaps the press for the things which we consider they are doing wrongly , seems to me to have a touch of hysteria ,whatever your own standpoint. I feel that the authors also seem to be quite hard on those poor ,”any colour ” , creed and so on masses who believe everything they read , without applying any intelligent thinking of their own.I would far rather they had the common sense that I think pervades the vast majority of our population .

    89. Daz says:

      An interesting article and some valid and not so valid comment after. The one thing I have failed to notice here is reference to the United Nations Convention and the similarly worded Convention for Human Rights that both say (paraphrased):

      “In order to be recognised, an asylum seeker must make themselves known in the first safe country they enter”

      Most of the people seeking asylum in the UK are not infact asylum seekers they are financial migrants, certainly most of the people who enter the UK to seek asylum have travelled across “Peaceful Europe” without “making themselves known” in order to enter into our benfits system as it is among the most lax in the Western World

    90. Susan Wardle says:

      “slwardle” and Susan Wardle are two different people-I am the latter. Just wanted to make that clear.

    91. Susan Wardle says:

      Daz, there is some truth in this. There are people who,desperately want a better life than the miserable one they have, and they see a possibility of a better life in the West. However, in many parts of the world, political and economic issues are closely linked. If a man has lost his land and his livelihood because of war or tribal in-fighting, and sees no alternative but to migrate, does that make him an economic migrant or a refugee? It is often unclear. As for not claiming asylum in the first safe country, it is true that we have had a reputation for treating refugees with humanity and decency-something I would be proud of, were it still true. The language issue plays a big part as well. English is often a person’s second language so they will be more inclined to come here for obvious reasons. Another major factor is the difficulty of getting here legally to claim asylum, with the result that people smugglers get involved, and they don’t tell their clients what country they’re heading to, in many cases.

    92. Wino says:

      Talking of hysteria: “horrifying Ugandan anti-gay laws, which is slowly leading to a genocide of gay people in the country”. Firstly this law has not been passed. As soon as it was tabled in the Ugandan parliament, way back in 2009, the British press reported on it as though it were a law, when in fact, it was a bill that was being tabled by a marginal politician. Since then it hasn’t gone away, it was even passed by parliament, eventually, but President Museveni has since refused to pass it into law (and he is the law in Uganda).

      So the law doesn’t exist and no one has died as a result (David Kato was not murdered for being gay as much as some people want to believe it). Zero deaths and no law does not equal a legal genocide.

      I agree with your article, but try to live up to your own standards.

    93. Daz says:

      Susan, I appreciate your point, but there has to come a time when a relatively small island nation says “Enough”
      We have pensioners dying of cold because they can’t afford to heat their homes, our neighbour did about ten years ago
      We have military veterans living in hostels or on the streets because they have been made redundant and all of the jobs they would do if they could “appear” to be taken by the migrant communities, thus perpetuating the myths, misinformation and lies
      Let us look after our own first, and if we then have space, time and money, then maybe we can take a share of what the rest of Europe forcibly eject

    94. Jasmine says:

      I’m mixed race, my mum is from a working class British family, her mum was one of 14 children. My dad is Indian and came to Britain from Uganda as a child in the 1970s when Idi Ameen threw all the Indians out of Uganda. He was a refugee. Neither of my parents have ever claimed benefits and have worked hard so I can go to a good school etc. I think that people being persecuted should be able to come here and not be targeted by right wing press and British nationals. ‘Bex’ before you started ranting about the ‘75%’ figure, which is completely untrue, did cyou think about what it must be like to be an asylum seeker? Or an immigrant? (Yes I know they’re completely different things). Imagine being turned out of your country, or being threatened with violence or death if you stayed. Imagine living in such abject poverty with your children that you are starving. So you decide to leave your country. After making the dangerous journey to Britain, you are faced with people who refuse to help you and insult and intimidate you on a daily basis. How would you feel?

      This is an excellent article by the way.

    95. George says:

      Hypothetically and taking the UK as a whole what ratio of immigrant to indiginent population would you consider to be unacceptable? 10/90? 20/80? 50/50? 60/40 perhaps, where the locals become the minority.

      The lower the first number the bigger the rascist presumably. 1/99 being perhaps the absolute top end acceptable level for a BNP supporter for example.

      At what point does the assertion of the preference for your own culture become rascist. Is it rascist to even have a cultural preference. Should we not love all cultures equally, as a manifestation of the fact that all people are equal?

      Those that are worried about the cultural impact of mass immigration, seem to have a habit of expressing it in economic terms out of fear of appearing rascist. I could be wrong but I don’t think anybody that’s concerned about immigration gives a damn about the economics, it’s purely cultural.

      Anyway, it’s easy to write I think immigration’s great, woo hoo aren’t I wonderful. What I want to know is, what’s your tipping point? How many’s too many?

    96. Susan Wardle says:

      Good point George, I think it is very much to do with culture. However, we have to live in the real world. It’s very unlikely the UK will opt out of the Geneva Convention and just as unlikely we’ll leave the EU. We can’t live in Forttress Europe any more. They will find ways to come here, although the numbers of people seeking asylum have been dramatically reduced over the last decade. That is the situation we have to deal with. There’s no point stating a “tipping point” because we have no means of making it stick. One way or another, they will come. The challenge is to deal with the situation with humanity and to use it creatively for the good of all.
      In other words, to make the best of what can’t be changed.

    97. Frank Dawber says:

      Making the best of it is all we can do but it’s our grandchildren that will pay the price as in 40 years or so it’ll be their way or death That’s the harsh reality. I said I’d finish a few days ago but I couldn’t resist it I’m going to get slated now It might not even get printed But a certain religion does not and I believe will never accept living alongside other religions . The damage is done

    98. Daniel says:

      Good article, but a bit bemused about your throwaway link to a ‘vicious right wing government’ whilst spending the whole article talking about the press misleading people. Granted, there are benefit and welfare cuts, but the minimum wage has also been increased, so hardly all round ‘vicious’.

      Labour spend most of their time publicising goodies and giveaways that they probably can’t afford, only stopping every so often to ‘legitimise’ their opposition by mentioning some cuts, which are of course smaller than the Coalition’s. There’s no acceptance of the fact that there might not be enough money to be this generous to ourselves, and that we might be better not spending half our money on interest payments.

      The main issue that pisses me off about politics is a generational one. People like Russell Brand telling young people not to vote hardly helps the fact that politicians’ priorities are massively skewed towards over 60s rather than under 25s – they turn out every general election without fail and that’s why there’s a triple lock on pensions but cuts everywhere else. Young people need to engage more, not less, so that politics is moulded more to our generation’s ideas and values.

    99. Michael says:

      Seeing as we’re being pedantic in this post, don’t you think that the idea of these asylum seekers receiving money is not entirely about money they actually receive!? You define asylum seekers and immigrants but it seems your pedantry makes you completely oblivious to what the majority might actually be thinking or propagating when sharing this picture, maybe the cost of investigating, housing, relocating, transporting and identifying illegal immigrants and asylum seekers might amount to a cost that is estimated and in which you might not be able to find strict statistics to which you haven’t even shown, you’ve included a few relevant statistics to push your point and no others so i’m afraid your bias is rather blatant to those who actually bother to ask questions and care about our society.

      I can accept and even befriend people of other nationalities, race, skin colour, language and what have you but like anybody else I feel insulted when tradition is just thrown out the window, nowadays people like you and many other types of people to be non-discriminatory completely black list tradition and paint it as discrimination and the propagation of arrogance, as well as ignorance, but to make it just that little bit clearer: Immigrants now come into our countries (sorry I should include “some” for the point of your pedantry) and start protesting against what we celebrate; to abuse our free speech laws to slag off what we choose to celebrate and how we behave in our country of origin and heritage, when in turn we can get prosecuted for doing the same.

      There are no statistics to state how people feel, you can only generalise and estimate, but when some immigrants are taking jobs, coming into our countries and secluding themselves to sealed off communities how are they any better when they can’t speak our native tongue in our land, they spread hate just as much as any white person in a western world but have the privilege of our free speech but we don’; there’s no wonder people are spreading this picture around, they don’t care about the pedantry of which you speak and they don’t really care about statistics, this is an epidemic that is spreading due to the failed integration of different races and you are clearly blaming it on us as if it’s all our fault.

      I respect what you tried to do here but you are just pointing the finger and have no real insight into the majority’s motivations and feelings, I suggest you write less opinionated and more theoretical pieces based upon a multitude of backgrounds and stances rather than assuming and only propagating hate further (just in a different direction). I should add that whilst I have written an opinionated piece, it is a counter statement meant for consideration and allows for debate to ensue and is not meant to in anyway prove or disprove anything but to broaden your perspective.

      I did enjoy the read and it certainly broadened my perspective but I feel your piece was also narrow minded, just not discriminatory like the daily mail.

    100. andyy says:

      A generally good article, but if you think this is a ‘vicious right wing government’ you want your bumps felt. The government is not responsible for the tripe in the Mail et al., although I’m sure they are happy to receive their support, much as the Labour party are happy to receive support from the Grauniad & Independent etc.

      It’s very easy to whip up hatred against people by putting them in groups such as ‘asylum seekers’ ‘immigrants’ ‘pensioners’ ‘Daily Mail readers’ etc., but we are all individuals with outlooks which can be surprisingly complex & apparently self-contradictory. My old mum, on the basic pension, considers herself very fortunate & fairly well-off; she despairs of many of her friends who fiddle the benefit system, or at least milk it for all its worth. She also reads the Daily Mail (which I despair of), but gets extremely upset about the degree of suffering around the world – lack of clean drinking water is one of her major bugbears.

      She is, however, concerned about cultural differences – as am I, to a lesser extent. We are still, by any international yardstick, a tolerant society – but how much intolerance can we tolerate? Immigrant cultures need time to be assimilated, often enriching the native one, but the arrival of large numbers of people who have very different moral codes is a recipe for trouble.

      We are facing huge & unprecedented problems. Bizarrely, these are being generated by huge & unprecedented wealth. There has never been so much stuff, produced by so few people. How do we distribute this wealth? That’s the $64,000 question. We now have a vast & byzantine benefits system which is falling apart & is causing much unrest & bitterness.

      We need a grown up debate about how we go about apportioning all the goodies that are now mostly produced by machines. No sign of it happening any time soon unfortunately.

    101. Thomas Herse says:

      Did it not occur to you that the £29k might include the provision of housing?

    102. Tim Groves says:

      Great article, well written.

    103. Susan Wardle says:

      Thomas, please take a few minutes to read my three comments above on this issue.

    104. SighPea says:


      Whichever side of the fence people may be on regarding the pension/asylum seeker issues this article has certainly spawned a worthwhile informative debate on the topics contained within. I for one have learnt a lot of facts about many facets of the arguments.

      Given that the article was entitled ‘The Age of Hysteria’ and a derision of the rife practice of forwarding on shock impact literary sound bites without any real thought or understanding regarding the topic included this ensuing debate is surely proof of a job well done.

      There is a sublime irony in the fact that along the chain of ‘shares’ that added to the spread of this article, many will have shared it purely because of the banner sound bite at the top rather than actually reading this link.

      Phrases such as ‘How many people will have the guts to forward this on’ and ‘I wonder if you will care enough to pass this on’ are cruel manipulations associated with such posts that virtually guarantee viral status and have enabled the sustenance of a global spread of ignorance on a multitude of issues. It is the propaganda of the day and there is apparently no way of regulating it.

      Anyone who tries to point out any flaws in the arbitrary statements associated are instantly vilified with uninformed uniform indignation.

      The saddest part is that often good people are passing these posts on in good faith. The share button is just so easy to click, and a combination of information overload, tired brains and a sense that one is ‘doing something good’ by forwarding them on make it impossible to resist to many people.

      I will certainly be thinking even more carefully about what I read, and certainly what I share in future.

    105. To those that state pensioners are the biggest takers of benefits.I and the vast majority paid for our pensions.And most have been pilfered from by government,employers and the finance industry.For instance the first second state pension was superannuation,this was a contributions scheme,my father paid into this,but got nothing back,thanks to H,Wilson and the Labour Party. then they introduced Graduated pension,I paid into this,the benefits of this were reduced by 50% three times.again by H,Wilson and the Labour party.Then they made it law that we had to join an occupational pension scheme with our employers.I belonged to two of these schemes with two different employers,at both I was made redundant along with the rest.because of my young age at the time, I was not allowed to freeze them,but to take the cash instead,but it was never any where near what I paid in,the employer and the government took most. I did join another one,and was fortunate to have the job for nearly 29 years, but during that time,by the accountants declaring an excess,my employer was able to help them selves from it several times,thus reducing the if this was not enough,theiving Blair,Labour again,emediately robbed all pension funds,as soon as the idiots voted him in,remember his one off,until the next time.As if that was not enough,it took another hit,thanks to dishonest bankers in 2009. Our pensions have been paid for by us with our money,which was designated for this purpose,they are ours because of this,and this is our right to them.There was a third second state pension called SERPS.This was brought in by M,thatcher a tory,and as my firms pension was a contracted out one,it was not paid to the government.this fund I insisted was froze,as it later suited my employer that we contracted back in,I contracted out privately,because of my fear,that another Labour government would do as they had done to the graduated pension.They did consider it,but never did,I know this because,I asked using the freedom of information act. I started work at fifteen,I paid my NI contributions,I paid my taxes,and still pay taxes.I did not have what the youngsters have been getting for the last 30 or 40 years.Also whilst there are some of you prepared to work,there are many of you in your twenties and thirties, that have never done a days work in their lives,have always lived on benefits,that they have not contributed to,but can still afford cars,TVs,Comps,all mod cons and still go on holidays. As a young father I only once manage a butlins holiday for my kids,all the others were tenting holidays. For all you youngsters stop complaining about what we get,we paid for it.Get off your arses and earn your own living,we do not owe you a living.

    106. Mr M says:

      I think that a reasonable point has been raised here that is not racist. That is, should an unemployed person who has regularly paid for say 30 years or so into tax and NI be entitled to more “help” from the Govt than an unemployed youngster or an older person who has recently emigrated to the UK ?
      The right wing press cloud this issue though with their small minded xenophobic rascism.

    107. Glenn says:

      Good article. What seems to have been forgotten here is that the posting about illegal immigrants is a variation on a post that originally crawled its way into the Canadian media a decade or so ago. Along with other variations, for Australia, New Zealand, the USA, even India, it has created distorted and divisive opinion about the state of welfare in these and other countries – each in turn clearly able to debunk it with relative ease.

    108. Mam Bach says:

      Possibly the amount cited is the amount to detain asylum seekers and/or trafficking victims in ‘detention centres’ I.e. jail for profit. Obviously, it’s better to put families in jail, for trying to flee their native country in time of war, than to let them live here. That’s totally the way to have the kids grow up thinking the best of us – to the extent that if they ever go back, after the war, that they wouldn’t want to start any wars against us.

      No, that other thing. Stupid.

    109. mary shipstone says:

      I actually seen a letter telling asylum seekers to “bring their electric/gas keys into the office on fri. as it was a bank holiday on never said anything in this reprt about paying their fuel bills also !!!!

    110. Susan Wardle says:

      Oh, you “seen” it did you? You expect people to be able to pay fuel bills out of £40 per week do you? Or do you think we should let them freeze? Do say. I’d love to know your views.

    111. jake masoc says:

      Here is Swindon much of the newspapers articles are true. The immigrants have taken ALL the social housing at the expense of the local indigenous who have waiting 5 years plus for accommodation. Why try and mask the problems mass immigration is causing, like lowering low paid job wages, double shifting classrooms overburdened health centers etc

    112. jake masoc says:

      Why should people just arriving in OUR country receive all these payments when our indigenous pensioners who have paid 44 years of NI contributions just receive a pittance pension, totally unfair to them and us the taxpayer.

    113. Karen says:

      Yes people I know tell me I can’t get my kids in a school near me because there are ‘too many polish people taking up the school places’ but the real reason is that Leicester council hasn’t created enough new places to cope with the growth in birth rate since the credit crunch.

    114. Andy Berry (Bez ) says:

      Brilliant. Well written, well laid out and in my opinion (based on experience) accurate.

      Thank you

    115. Oliver Coles says:

      Jake, have you actually read event the first paragraph?

    116. Chris Murray says:

      Reblogged this on The Ego Factor and commented:
      Don’t just share something; find out about it first.

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