The mainstream media’s portrayal of asylum seekers and refugees as
scroungers is fuelling the success of the British National Party,
the chairperson of the Commission for Racial Equality said last
Trevor Phillips told the Trades Union Congress in Brighton that the
far-right party’s recent local election victory for its 18th
council seat in England was to the “shame of all democrats”.
He warned the TUC that it “could no longer dismiss the British
National Party as just another bunch of knuckle-dragging
He added that its electoral successes were due partly to the
failure of mainstream politics to respond to the worries and needs
of ordinary people and appalling “lies, half-truths and
scaremongering by the press”.
“You do not have to pass a complicated English test to be able to
read the front pages of many of our newspapers. The words asylum,
cheat, flood, bogus and removal should see you through most days,”
But he admitted that the commission had not done enough to promote
the positive contribution thousands of immigrants had made.
“We at the CRE may have failed to drive home the truth that
Europe’s working population will fall – by as a much as a quarter,
over 60 to 70 million fewer workers, in the next 40 years,” he
“We will need new, younger migrants to sustain our prosperity, our
competitiveness and to pay our pensions.”
He urged union members to combat press coverage, which was now
“waging war” against asylum seekers to highlight the positive input
of immigrants within the nation’s services.
– Stephen Bubb, chief executive of the Association of Chief
Executives of Voluntary Organisations, told delegates that striking
was an unacceptable way to solve problems.
He warned union leaders they needed to “tailor their services to
meet the needs of charity staff” if they were to increase
membership from the voluntary sector. Just 15 per cent of
not-for-profit workers belong to a union compared with 70 per cent
in the public sector.