Daily Express misleads on immigrants and English


by Sunny Hundal    
8:15 am - January 31st 2013

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The Daily Express today features more rubbish on its front page.

It says 4 million immigrants in the UK hardly speak English. But this is simply misleading.

We know this because the article is based on data from the Census that was released yesterday.

The key findings stated:

Of the eight per cent (4.2 million) of usual residents aged three years and over with a main language other than English, 79 per cent (3.3 million) could speak English very well or well.

In 2011, less than half a per cent (138,000) of all usual residents aged three years and over could not speak English.

Emphasis is mine. The actual figure is under 140,000. You could argue that speaking “hardly” is the same as having English as your second language, but that would be misleading.

It should come as no surprise that the Daily Express is printing absolute rubbish, but I highlight this to ask why people in the mainstream media (especially the BBC) still keep taking this joke of a newspaper seriously.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


From the report in the FT: Census shows Britain transformed

“One million households – out of 23.4m surveyed – do not speak English as their main language and in London the proportion is more than one-in-five.”
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1ae07a54-6b0a-11e2-8017-00144feab49a.htmlhttp://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1ae07a54-6b0a-11e2-8017-00144feab49a.html

By that report, Polish is the most common foreign language.

To be fair to the Express, Jackie Ashley was as bad in the Guardian:

there are apparently around a million households that speak no English……… (http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2012/12/17/jackie-ashleys-on-labour-and-migration-grammatically-factually-and-politically-incorrect/)

I did get a retraction from the Guardian in its corrections thing.

Mind you, it wasnt front page.

To be fair to the Express, Jackie Ashley was as bad in the Guardian:

“there are apparently around a million households that speak no English………”

(http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2012/12/17/jackie-ashleys-on-labour-and-migration-grammatically-factually-and-politically-incorrect/)

I did get a retraction from the Guardian in its corrections thing.

Mind you, it wasn’t front page.

This could be one reason why Polish is the most common foreign language spoken in Britain nowadays:

In 2005, Prince Charles unveiled a memorial to the fighter pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain between 10 July and 31 October 1940, included is a plaque inscribed with the names of the 2,936 pilots and ground crew from Britain and 14 other countries. At 145, the largest contingent of foreign fighter pilots who came to fly in the RAF during the battle was from Poland:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4257084.stm

After the war ended, von Runstedt, C-in-C west in the German high command at the end of the war, was asked by Soviet interrogators as to what he considered to be the strategically decisive battle of the war. He replied the Battle of Britain was the decisive battle. Had that battle been lost or had Britain negotiated a peace settlement with Germany in May 1940, there would have been no Normandy invasion in June 1944. Btw America didn’t enter the war in Europe until 11 December 1941 when Germany declared war on America.

5. Midland Mike

Let us be honest, the Express does not “mislead”, it tells lies.
It is owned by a man who thinks “ethics” is an Essex girl with a lisp.

Funny how the right wing press has no such concens when pushing their overseas property sections. They don’t seem that bothered if the English refuse to learn French or Spanish. Funny that.

I don’t actually care if immigrants speak English, but the Sexpress is racist, no doubt about that.

@6 sally

It was notable how few ex-pats I met in Mallorca could actually speak Spanish, so you’re right on the money. Some of the Germans were worse though, they had walled settlements with German supermarkets and controlled access!

I’m no fan of the mainstream British media, whether TV, the tabloids, indeed the press in general, what isn’t sensationalism is usually barely concealed government propaganda and press releases.
My daughter’s ex boyfriend was born in Britain about 35 years ago and a nicer guy you couldn’t wish to meet, his parents are Bangaldeshi, the mother speaks no English and rarely leaves the house.
My wife works in a G.P surgery, where husbands will make an appointment on behalf of their wives and ask for an interpretator fluent in her language to be present.
Sometimes but rarely the patient will be accompanied by an English speaking daughter.
My grandaughter, age 5, started primary school, in her class only she and a boy of the same age spoke English, in the first week the boy fell and broke his arm, there was no other child in her class to whom she could speak.
The boy’s parents did not return him to school.
I’m not making any sort of point, just saying that’s all.

79 per cent (3.3 million) could speak English very well or well

Actually that figure is a load of bollocks. The census was of how well people *reported* they could speak English, not how well they actually could. Because of both the Dunning-Kruger effect and the imposter effect, how well someone says they can do something is a poor measure of how well they can actually do it.

It’s surprising when the left wing press do similar actions with statistics to try and push their point.

12. Robin Levett

@Phil Hunt #10:

Actually that figure is a load of bollocks. The census was of how well people *reported* they could speak English, not how well they actually could. Because of both the Dunning-Kruger effect and the imposter effect, how well someone says they can do something is a poor measure of how well they can actually do it.

That may or may not be right; but what is unequivocally true is that the Express lied when claiming that the figure of 4 million who could hardly speak English came from the census data.

Midland Mike: “Let us be honest, the Express does not “mislead”, it tells lies.”

Exactly – they’re not total idiots, they can read basic English themselves and will know what the numbers mean. This is a malicious, deliberate, irresponsible attempt to stoke inter-ethnic tensions.

The only question mark is over motives – as far as I can see either:

(A) they’re in it purely for the money, and just don’t give a f*** about anyone but themselves being caught up in ethnic violence.
(B) the editorial office is occupied by far right extremists who think ethnic violence is an actively good thing.

Or a bit of both, most likely.

Daily Express misleads on immigrants?

Is this breaking news?

Yes like those English immigrants in India in the 19th C.
We English always learn other languages. God forbid that we live in Spain and never learn any phrase apart from two beers mate


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