Ed Howker's weekend post
about life in Rochdale – and The Spectator's study of welfare ghettos – has
made the news today. There's a powerful spread
in The Sun, with full and due attribution to
the source. But the Daily Mail
also ran the figures, incorrectly attributing them to
the DWP. (We expressed DWP dole figures as a share of ONS population estimates. The resulting ratio only we produced.) We at The Spectator have no doubt that the Daily Mail reporter did actually
visit Rochdale. It's just that her material looks as if it could have been copied from Ed's Coffee House post. Here are some coincidental overlaps:
Coffee House source: "Everyone wants 'the sickness' [incapacity benefit]. Then you've really made it. You don't have to turn up for work or sign on. Everything is taken care
Anonymous 'local' quoted by the Daily Mail:
"Everyone wants 'the sickness' [incapacity benefit]" one said. "Then you've really made it. You don't have to turn up for
work or sign on. Everything is taken care of."
Coffee House: "The streets are litterless ... the only things blooming on the estate are the flower boxes."
"The streets of Lower Falinge estate ... no litter on the pavements and window boxes bloomed outside."
Coffee House: "The other major retailer is a betting shop. A local cafe offers a £4.70 breakfast that includes a can of Stella."
"Of the shops and pubs that aren't boarded up the one attracting the most custom yesterday was the bookmakers, while the cafe offers a £4.70 breakfast that
includes a can of Stella."
Coffee House: "Rochdale's immigrant population jumped from 4,000 to 15,000 over the Labour years." (this is unpublished data)
"The number of immigrats in Rochdale has soared from 4,000 to 15,0000 during Labour's time in office."