Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Statistics & Scapegoats

Today's Oldham Echo is forced to acknowledge the local aspect of the unemployment figures ( ):
"In Liverpool 20,055 are now claiming Job Seeker's Allowance, in Sefton there are 7,641, in Knowsley 5,937, Halton 4,209, St Helens 5,417 and Wirral 9,265."
Putting all those tiresome feel-good Echo stories in their proper perspective, also, is the news that there are 10 applicants for each vacancy on Merseyside.
Enter, stage right, the Right Honourable member for Birkenhead, Frank Field, who summons up a gobbet of crude populism which could all too easily play into the hands of the BNP:
"It [the unemployment figures] is hardly surprising, given that net immigration is now running at 237,000 a year.
"Gordon Brown must deliver on British jobs for British workers."
The immigration figure quoted by Field is open to question. However, it says a depressingly great deal about a Labour MP, which Field still is, his "maverick" tag notwithstanding, that he should invoke the race card when his government's inept & shabby handling of the economy is under the spotlight. As for Field's remark about British jobs & British workers, he should know that Brown's pledge is impossible under EU law. Brown is all to aware that the quote will be engraved on his epitaph. Either the MP for Birkenhead is unaware of EU law, or he is being disingenuous & playing to a baying, xenophobic gallery.

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