The easiest scapegoats for Britain's right-wing media

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The Independent Online

The scapegoating happens at around this time every year and always most prominently in the publications that usually give least coverage to what goes on outside Britain.

This August, against the political backdrop of Bulgaria and Romania's inclusion in the European Union next year, the focus is on eastern Europeans.

The Sunday Express has warned of Romania's "HIV Children bringing Timebomb to Britain" and The Sun claims that British workers have already lost half of their wages as a result of eastern European migration. "Immigrants to Flood In" said the Daily Star on 24 July, while its sister newspaper in Richard Desmond's media empire, the Daily Express, adopted a similar stance with a "Poles Flood In" headline on 17 August, provoking three complaints to the Press Complaints Commission.

The papers in question would say the reason there are not more complaints is because the stories reflect the concerns of their readers. It is also relevant that the demographic apparently most at risk is a key constituency to both politicians and the media.

Self-employed plasterers, plumbers, electricians and other skilled workers represent not only a crucial battleground for the Labour and Conservative parties but also core readers for newspapers such as The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express.