The Back Seat Drivers blog is true to the first word in its title at the minute, with Dick conducting a detailed examination of Kevin Myers’s cited statistics on Nigerian rent allowance claimants and revealing-fetch the salts- Mr Myers is being scaremongerifyingly and distortionately misindignant, if not deextraliberately so.
But before fitting condemnatory brickbats to the ends of our collective pitchforks and baying for his blood in a hate-filled leftist spittlefleckfest, consider this: they may be statistics, and as such lies and damned lies -but at least they’re statistics.
Some articles one might suspect of being founded on anti-immigrant sentiment have no statistics at all, much to the annoyance of those of us manning the gates of Vienna against the onslaught of Tsaro-islamofascicommunisticist hordes and their intellectual anti-Enlightenment corollaries ensconced in the Irish Times.
For instance, yesterday I read an article in the not-in-any-way-racist-now-that-there’s-a-recession-on-and-there-has-to-be-someone-out-there-we-can-blame-so-as-to-reunite-the-nation-in-a-common-cause-other-than-getting-filthy-rich-now-that-that’s-off-the-menu-for-the-time-being Sunday Independent about what to do about the cultural fanaticism of the witch-obsessed Africans she heard about from someone on the radio.
Whatever else many of our African immigrants may have brought with them to Ireland, they have included a belief in witches, seen as an active threat to the well-being of families and communities.
Yeah, but how many is ‘many’? (And even if the many is roughly quantifiable, so what? Tens of thousands of children are exorcised of evil every year in Ireland, in a practice known as ‘baptism’.)
But the formal structure of the sentence is the thing that jars here. There’s the proprietorial implications: ‘our African immigrants’ (of course, my African immigrants would never get up to such a thing, my dears). Then there’s the grounding of her complaint in terms of whether or not ‘African immigrants’ ought to be here in the first place (i.e. if they didn’t bring things with them that were of use to us, they would have no right to be here), but most importantly, the gesture of balancing the complaint about African immigrants (the belief in witches) with an acceptance that they might fulfil some useful purpose.
And then there’s this:
To hear that witchcraft is on the religious agenda of an African church in Dublin is to feel some alarm at the possibility that this tradition of evil-seeking has been re-introduced to Ireland.
‘Some alarm at the possibility’, i.e. there is precisely no evidence that it is in fact happening, but if it were happening, we should be alarmed at it, which is why I’m writing a 700 word article for the Sunday Independent about it. Like I said, at least Myers has statistics. OK, at least Myers has statistics sometimes.