Sometimes you wake up on a Monday morning and dread reading the Daily Mail. And yet... today's experience has been rather wonderful. Not for the article itself, which is the usual codswallop, but the responses to it, which are rather splendidly defiant. These are the sorts of comments you wouldn't have had a snowball's chance in hell of getting published a while ago, but now the Mail have, for some pleasant reason, decided to allow them through - through gritted teeth, surely...? Or maybe that's being unkind.
Anyway, here's the article. Continuing the overtly discriminatory theme from the lies they told about 'white flight', the Mail is carrying on with its attack on other races, this time grumbling about the percentage of 'white British' births in this country:
Fewer than two-thirds of babies born in England and Wales are now registered as 'White British'.
Newly-released figures give the first official breakdown of births by ethnic identity, and offer a striking insight into the changing face of Britain's population.
Of 649,371 babies born in 2005, 64.4 per cent were recorded as 'White British'.
Though nearly 11 per cent of people don't declare their ethnicity, so we can't draw too much of a conclusion. In an 80 per cent white British population, to have as much as 74 per cent births doesn't seem so horrendous, does it? Or even 64 per cent? Is it?
Let's see if we can work out what's going on here:
The proportion of births registered by single mothers - those where no father's details are given - was highest in the Caribbean group at 20.5 per cent followed by African (13 per cent) and 'White British' (7 per cent).
Ooh, you're too subtle for me, Mr Mail!
By contrast in each of the three main Asian groups - Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi - fewer than 1.5 per cent of births were registered by a single mother.
Hmm. I suppose if you regarded single mothers as being A Jolly Bad Thing, then those figures might be significant.
At the risk of editorialising, here's the editorialising:
The findings will reinforce concerns over the effects of broken homes and the lack of effective male role-models among black youths.
'The findings will reinforce what we already know about black men, won't it? Eh?'
There's the usual shit from David Davies - not the chap who stood down in the recent byelection, but an anti-immigration rentagob Tory MP - and MigrationWatch. But fair's fair to the Mail, they do allow these quotes:
But former Labour MP and minister Tony Benn hailed the figures as 'a delightful snapshot of life in multicultural Britain.'
He said: 'Multicultural Britain is now here to stay so it's great that we're finally learning to live alongside each other.
Ratna Dutt, Director of the Race Equality Foundation, said: 'We're living in a different population now than we were 20 or 30 years ago.
...'Britain is more racially diverse than ever, which is brilliant.'
You'd expect the Mail commenters to come in all guns blazing, but I have news for you:
Why does it matter what percentage of babies are white? it doesnt.
- Lau, Lancashire, 29/8/2008 12:57
Many of these children will be 2nd or 3rd generation British at the very least and speak English at least as well or better than most white children. Skin colour means nothing.
- Kim, Cheltenham, 29/8/2008 13:09
So two thirds of them were white then? It seems as though there is still a disproportionate percentage of white people in western Europe.
- Voynaimir, Luxembourg, 29/8/2008 13:36
What has colour got to do with it? I'm 47 years old, British born of Bajan descent, married to a white English man, with three mixed raced children. My eldest is engaged to Yorkshire lass, the middle one dates a girl who is half Swedish and Spanish, and the youngest prefers South American dates. As far as I am concerned "We are all British". Welcome to the 21st Century.
- Carmen, Maidenhead, UK, 29/8/2008 14:46
*pours glass of water over head*
No, I'm awake. I really am.
It's actually good for the population to have a wider gene pool, it sure ensure future offspring are healthier.
- Melanie, Wales, 29/8/2008 14:47
What sorcery is this? Not what the Mail imagined would happen, I'd wager...
Those figures add up to 100% British.
- Tel, Worthing, 29/8/2008 15:33
Incredible. But brilliant.
What a fantastic statistic and one that I am proud of. I love it that I live in a cosmopilitian, multi-cultural country that reflects the 21st century mobility. The world is a smaller place now and far better for it. Of course there are still a minority of people that think only white british is best (not quite sure why) but that type of old fashioned attitude is dissapearing as the people are dying or ..and this always makes me laugh they move to a differernt country! Welcome to all the babies, something to celebrate.
- Bella, Sheffield, UK, 29/8/2008 15:49
I've never seen the likes of it.
I am a pensioner like John of England, but I try to embrace this country through good and bad times, it's a changing world and we have to change with it with an attitude like that that we would still be living in Victorian times , I remember somebody saying to me when I was a child " nobody is better than me and I am no better than anyone else"
I have remembered this all my life, people with a superior attitude are only kidding themselves, I bet these same people wouldn't say no if they were dying on the roadside and a non-white doctor came to save their life.
- Chris, Wirral U.K., 29/8/2008 16:03
I'm brown-skinned, Muslim and British, and i'm proud to be all 3 things. I am proud of my Indian heritage; practice my relegion; and proud to be British born and bred. I think Britian is the best place in the world to live!! Which other country in the world allows people to live life they way they choose, as long as they obey the laws of the land?
- Raj, Preston, 29/8/2008 16:30
I'm stunned. Stunned but delighted. The Mail weighs in with the usual statistics to try and rouse the far right and the usual grumpy old reactionary bastards, but instead comes a wave of celebrating diversity and multiculturalism (which no-one has referred to as a 'failed experiment'.)
What articulate views, so pleasantly expressed, too. I must be dreaming.
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