The last couple of years has seen UKIP and other right populist groups gain some momentum, views on immigration into the UK has become a major issue for the public even though politically and economically it isn’t. This is partly due to the sensationalism that is often headlined in media outlets such as The Daily Mail and The Express, they tend to headline negative imagery of immigrants to push their own agenda, usually removing fact or spinning a ‘fact’ so it can be seen as a negative by readers.
In reality though immigration is positive that should be treated as nothing more than a side issue to maintain and improve controls, except a right populist agenda that has seemingly overtaken a remarkable amount of Britain’s media outlets, has somewhat clouded the judgment of many people often deflecting from the real issue. Immigrants have contributed £20 billion to the UK economy between 2001-2011.
The headlines usually entail that immigrants are a drain and claim all our benefits when in reality only 5% of immigrants claim benefits, which includes all benefits that DWP manage whether it is jobseekers, disability or pensions and there is a high chance that they need it much like those who are British, yet discrimination is rife because immigration is continuously claimed to be a significant drain.
The refugee crisis has had a massive impact on Europe coupled with the threat of terrorist attacks from ISIL, this has caused a number of right wing populist movements to become more prominent in some EU countries particularly those in Eastern Europe. This crisis has been handled all wrong and whilst Angela Merkel called for the EU to pull together so that they could help those in need, most other EU countries retreated back into their own countries. Ultimately though this left Germany and Sweden to take the brunt of those escaping a war zone however they are becoming more exhausted, and the population are turning on refugees because of how the Cologne sex attacks were reported.
Despite only 3 of the 100 attackers being linked with refugees many media outlets used the attacks to push their own anti-immigration agenda, much of this sensationalism used when referring to refugees creates a disdain amongst the population that regard themselves as nationals. This in turn can cause that same population to turn on current immigrants who have resided in that country for years, or even those who are born but have a heritage elsewhere, this particular form of hate can then be used by the right populists to push some measure of control upon that population.
Immigration is often seen as a subject that plays a significant role in our economic situation, when in reality the only reason immigration in cited is by those who have political ambition, and they can use it as an emotive subject, for example; a lack of school places, NHS crisis, joblessness. Immigration can be used as a reason why certain aspects of society are in decline, when in fact it is usually down to underfunding or lack of understanding of the problem, or even political ideology. Facts and figures get overlooked because they are innately boring, emotion is seen as a tool used by those who want power and control for themselves and immigration is a key component in their arsenal
This immigration sensationalism that our right populist media outlets like to convey is nothing but a source of income for themselves, newspapers are filled those who use words to paint a picture in our minds, writers who can construct entire worlds in our heads. They may not be great fiction writers nonetheless they are able to tell stories, stories of the ‘real’ world to suit what they think and feel regardless of facts and figures. This idea isn’t just placed upon the right-wing but also the left-wing, however the left-wing tend to waver more towards facts and figures rather than the emotion conveyed by right populist writers.