How appropriate that a review of a book about the "media demonisation of refugees", (Morning Star,27/10/13) appears in the same week as the government, the source for most of the "ignorance-inducing" stories, was spreading its vile propaganda about Britain`s "health tourists". In the hope that Tories can look tougher on immigration issues than Labour in the build up to the election, Jeremy Hunt alleged that foreign visitors and short-term migrants, taking advantage of the NHS, cost the taxpayer £300m a year. Yet the government`s own research suggests the true figure is nearer £60m, but when has this government ever bothered about being accurate when it comes to data, as long as it can feed the "gutter press" with misinformation to mislead the readers of the Sun, Mail and Telegraph?
Hunt, of course, is far from being the only government minister to use such tactics, especially when a few incorrect figures can deflect attention from a ministry`s incompetence, or promote a flawed ideology. Not so long ago a certain Iain Duncan Smith, the works and pensions secretary, was discovered to have issued inaccurate statistics to claim his benefits cap had encouraged 8000 unemployed to move into jobs; the made-up figure did not deter the media from reporting it as fact, and the damage was done before the truth was revealed.
Gove has misled the public on so many occasions, even to the extent of being reprimanded by the OECD, in his quest to denigrate state schools, that he seems to have convinced the so-called opposition of the need for free schools and Performance Related Pay for teachers! Accuracy, such as the positioning of British schools as 6th in Pearson`s education league tables, somehow gets ignored.
Figures, of course, add authority to Government claims, but when none "suitable" are available, Goebbels-like repetition is the method used; hence we have the necessity of privatisation in order to encourage profits and investment in our industries and transport, and the millions paid into the Treasury by the profitable Royal Mail and the east coast railway are ignored. State ownership is always wrong, except when other countries` nationalised companies are taking over British businesses.
The sad thing is that the government gets away with it,with its massive media support, and a response from Labour which, to say the very least, is ineffective.