Food for thought as we head into 2023 and it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish
between fact and fake news.
Barely into the new year and already the headlines are filled with large, scary sounding
figures as we are told record numbers of people crossed the channel last year, and grim
predictions are made about migration for the year ahead.
Such pre-emptive pessimism seems to set the tone for another year of misinformation and
thinly veiled racist rhetoric from the mainstream media, as we stray ever further from our
supposedly free press.
True enough, migration is an emotive issue and with the threat of poverty looming over many
of us as prices continue to rise, it is little surprise that such sensationalist media coverage
leads many to blame the country’s current state almost entirely on migration alone.
But the widespread anger felt by the nation is less a result of migration itself, and more the
prolonged mismanagement of an already broken immigration system. With fear and hatred
being insidiously spread amongst communities through wilful misrepresentation of the
situation and the use of provocative and inaccurate language by politicians and the
mainstream media.
The concerns of citizens go far deeper than the manufactured fear of a few innocent,
desperate people seeking safety on our shores. With public services in crisis, the migration
situation is just a convenient scapegoat for what are actually the bleak results of 12 years
(and counting) of Tory austerity, core budget cuts and restrictions on local councils.
The ‘record’ numbers reported to have crossed the channel in 2022 refers only to small boat
crossings. The ‘record’ began in 2018, small boat channel crossings were a rarity until 2019,
so such a dramatic statement highlights nothing more than a change in the way people are

The horrific amounts of money reportedly being spent on hotel accommodation and asylum
support is another popular bone of contention at the moment. During the cost of living crisis
this really begs the question – is the government’s commitment to the ‘hostile environment’
strategy really in the public interest?
The reason we are obliged to provide accommodation and support to people arriving here is
because we do not give people the right to support themselves. The argument for allowing
people to work while their asylum claim is being processed has never been stronger. Not
only would the asylum support bill go down drastically, but we would see over £100 Million a
year going back into the economy through tax revenues and National Insurance
contributions, not to mention the much needed skilled labour during a national skills

But you won’t find headlines highlighting these facts because using the socio-economic
crisis to fuel division and fear in communities is obviously far more valuable to Suella
Braverman et al. than it would be to actually attempt to solve the issues.
The truth is looking back over the decades we can see peaks in these sensationalist
headlines, when migration is dragged into the spotlight to be blamed for one government
failing of another, or to gain support, and with these peaks we see a change in the public
opinion towards migration.
To get an idea of just how influential media coverage has been, note a YouGov poll held
weeks before the Brexit Referendum, when anti-migrant press coverage was at a high, 56%
of the country thought ‘immigration and asylum’ were the most important issues facing
Britain. Soon after the vote that dropped to 46%.
The press continued to tail off their media coverage and by 2019 the average number of
people who believed immigration was the key issue facing Britain fell to just 20%. The
migration situation had not changed in any big way, but as the media coverage drops off so
too does the public interest.
So it is with that, that I encourage everyone to question everything this year, don’t allow
yourselves to be swayed by doom-posting media drama. Choose compassion, choose
humanity, choose love.