It’s now a ‘Crusade’. Note the capital C. A newspaper is launching a ‘Crusade’ against people (in headscarves) from the East of Europe.
Let’s talk about the paper-thin justification. The Daily Express’s emblem is a Crusader. Yes. I get that. Which is bad enough anyway, when you think about it, but fine, history and tradition and branding and all of that. OK. In the past it’s launched Crusades against all kinds of things, not just borderline Little Britain xenophobia. But calling a campaign against people from one group a ‘Crusade’… there is a whiff of something else.
Crusade… flood… as I said yesterday, there’s a dehumanisation going on here. These people are being portrayed as less-than-people, as under-people, as people who it’s OK to lump together in one globular mass, a flood, a tide, a mass of headscarved people coming over here and taking our benefits.
Time and again, you have to look at the images used to illustrate the stories. Yesterday it was the image of a woman in a headscarf ‘being moved on by police’, with the subtle implications that brings. Again and again the same kinds of images are used.
These people, these less-than-people, are often seen from behind – we don’t need to see their faces. They’re outdoors, with the implication that they’re not working. People aren’t coming to this country to work; they’re coming to hang around in parks and be down-and-outs and troublemakers. And to claim benefits, of course.
If that’s too subtle, the Express today reports that its own readers overwhelmingly back what the paper tells them to – at least, those readers who could be bothered to express an opinion. This sort of thing is statistically meaningless, naturally, but is reported as if the whole of the nation rather than a few readers of a newspaper – backed and abetted by the usual ultra nationalists and knuckledraggers – is backing the ‘Crusade’.
Things are getting unpleasant. The demonisation and dehumanisation continues. All people from Romania and Bulgaria are depicted as layabouts, wasters, shirkers, malingerers, scroungers…
And in a few weeks’ time, when the stories come in about attacks taking place against immigrants, being beaten up (or worse) for their appearance, because they matched the demographic we’re being told to hate, a newspaper like the Express will look the other way, and pretend it had nothing to do with it, and continue to peddle its lies.