In July 2017, the Scotsman wrote:
‘Hate offences against Jews in Scotland reach worst level on record’
Reading the article in full and you saw that ‘Hate offences against Jews in the UK reach worst level on record’ would’ve been accurate but there was absolutely no evidence of such a spike in Scotland presented anywhere in the piece. The headline was a lie. First-of-all, for the UK as-a-whole, see this:
‘Anti-Semitic crimes recorded by police forces around the UK increased by 14.9 per cent in 2016, according to data provided following Freedom of Information requests. The total of 1,078 offences registered last year compared to 938 in 2015 and 746 in 2014.’
Now, for Scotland:
‘Scotland recorded 26 anti-Semitic incidents [only 15 led to charges] in 2016, with new figures revealing that suspected hate offences targeting Jewish victims UK-wide surged for the third consecutive year to reach the worst level on record.’
So, the surge was UK-wide and no evidence that it was present in Scotland was offered. Indeed, with a little simple arithmetic we saw that the opposite was true.
Scotland’s population was 5.295 million [in mid-2017]. The UK population was 65.14 million. Scotland’s population was therefore 8.13% of the total. So, if the surge to 1 078 cases across the UK was present in Scotland too there would’ve been more than 87 cases in Scotland yet there were only 26 recorded and only 15 charged. So, the Scotsman headline, if honest, should have read something like:
‘Hate offences against Jews in Scotland much less common than in other parts of the UK’
Why didn’t it?
Then, in February 2018, in an anonymous piece, the Herald headlined:
‘Alarm as anti-Semitic incidents surge across the UK’
‘Anti-Semitic hate incidents have reached a new record high in the UK, new figures show. A report indicates that the Jewish community was targeted at a rate of nearly four times a day last year. The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity which monitors anti-Semitism, recorded 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide in 2017.’
Clearly with more time on my hands than the reporter, I had a look at the actual report, as opposed to their press release. On page 34, I found that there had been 1 382 incidents in the UK in 2017 up 3% from 1 346 in 2016. So, not much of a surge overall but there had been a 34% increase in physical assaults from 108 in 2016 to 145 in 2017.
On the same page of the report, I found a breakdown revealing that of the 1 382 incidents, only 16 had occurred in Scotland, up 1 from 15 in 2016. With 8% of the population, only 1.15% of all anti-Semitic incidents took place in Scotland.
‘Incidents’ included tweets and shouts from passing cars. In the report, no cases of physical assault in Scotland were reported. Only two examples were offered, one was a tweet and the other was an insult from a shopkeeper angered by Israeli attacks in Gaza. So, there almost certainly had been no physical assaults at all in Scotland
Now, today, the Scotsman reports:
‘Jewish leaders tell Jeremy Corbyn ‘enough is enough’ in anti-semitism row…..The statement said Jews faced “fundamental anti-Semitic slurs” in Labour meetings or online forums on a daily basis and “rightly or wrongly, those who push this offensive material regard Jeremy Corbyn as their figurehead”.’
The report makes no attempt to refer to the kind of data, reported above, which might inform readers as to the applicability of this problem to Scotland or for that matter to the Labour Party in Scotland which is currently struggling with accusations of Islamophobia.
Bias by incompetence is probably the best way to describe this but it remains scandalous that Scottish readers cannot rely on these two ‘serious’ newspapers to properly inform them.