APPARENTLY, I’M NOT BRITISH
According to the Daily Mail, even second- and third-generation children born in the UK are not truly ‘British’
In another lifetime, a few years ago, when I used to run messageboards primarily populated by British Asians, we were occasionally invaded by National Front and BNP trolls. They told us to “go back to your own country”, and we retorted that we were born here and had as much right to call ourselves British as they did. Their retort almost inevitably was: “Just because a dog is born in a stable doesn’t make it a horse”.
But who really takes lessons in citizenship from BNP activists? I’ve always maintained that we decide whether to call ourselves British, English or whatever other identity, not the racists. I have a Sikh mate with a large beard who sports his English football shirt with its big St George’s flag with pride. Who am I to argue with him?
But, apparently, journalists at the Daily Mail are not happy with that state of affairs.
In a typical anti-immigration article in the Daily Mail recently, journalists Steve Doughty and James Slacker wrote:
However although the figures from the Government’s Office for National Statistics show an increase in numbers of foreign-born people they still fail to record the true impact of immigration because they record their children as British rather than second- or third-generation immigrants.
The implication is clear: you may be the second, third or fourth generation born in the UK, but you’re still not truly British. Daily Mail journalists, in other words, are happily pushing BNP views and their editor Paul Dacre is happy to let it pass.
James Slacker has a long history of abusing statistics to produce inflammatory hysteria around immigration. So this should come as no surprise.
But this is the first time I’ve seen a national newspaper endorse the view that “the true impact of immigration” is being hidden because people such as myself, or anyone with Irish, American, African or Asian ancestry, shouldn’t classify themselves as British.
As Sunder Katwala of the Fabians says in an open letter to Paul Dacre:
I hope that your proposed reclassification of Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry as not British, as second and third generation immigrants descended from the foreign-born Philip, will not distress them too much.
But it does seem most ungrateful, when Winston Churchill was voted “greatest Briton”, to strip him of that status because he had an American mother. (However strongly your newspaper disagreed with Churchill’s criticisms of appeasement in the 1930s, isn’t it now time to let bygones be bygones?)
A newspaper that was once willing to appease fascists is now endorsing their views. We’ve come full circle – well done, Mr Dacre.
By Sunny Hundal