What the Mail wants to know too is how the Office of National Statistics somehow got the idea that those born in this country as the children and grandchildren of immigrants are "British". Their confusion between place of birth, ethnic origin, nationality and citizenship might seem like jaw-dropping ignorance of our history and constitution from such a proud and patriotic newspaper, but I would much rather take it as a helpful reminder that - while the integration of immigrants and new Britons is important - citizenship education really needs to be for everybody if it is going to work. (The Mail newsdesk might need to do some swotting up).
Anyway, as announced on Liberal Conspiracy, I am writing to Mr Paul Dacre to see if he can help to clarify the issue. (But perhaps I should drop the appeasement reference when sending it in?)
Dear Mr Dacre,
I was disappointed to read reported in today’s Daily Mail that the newspaper regards it as a mistake to consider that the children or grandchildren of immigrants are British, but rather would classify us as “second or third generation immigrants”.
"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".
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 Phillip, will not distress them too much.
But it does seem most ungrateful, when Winston Churchill was voted ‘greatest Briton’, to now 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?)
Perhaps you could let us know who the Daily Mail thinks is truly British. I can see you probably think it is too late for my children - as “third generation immigrants”, currently aged under 3 - but perhaps there might be a tip or two they could pass on to their descendants.
So, given our shared interests in integration and citizenship, it would be terribly kind if you might let us know whether there is anything that those of us who were born here as British citizens could ever do so as to become British in your eyes.
The comments include a very funny response from Rob Blackie:
I am British under these criteria. But I’m a little worried that since both my parents have emigrated I might retrospectively cease to be British. Can the Mail reassure me?