Friday 27 February 2009

Damian Green rebuts Mail's new Britishness test

ConservativeHome note "some excitement across the blogosphere today" at the Daily Mail's novel attempt to redefine British citizenship, though I don't get a credit as the source of this. (Daniel Finkelstein of The Times is also in the gobsmacked 'is the Mail really saying I'm not British' camp).

And, lo, Shadow Immigration Minister Mr Damian Green has issued a statement to make clear his disagreement with the Daily Mail's report.

"I regard anyone born in Britain as British, unless they choose to take another nationality. Whenever I speak to a large meeting I ask how many in the audience have at least one parent born outside the UK. Generally speaking, the younger the audience, the higher the percentage."

The pressure builds on Mr Dacre!

The effect is, however, slightly spoiled by the ConservativeHome thread which follows this welcome piece of 'ProgCon' rapid response.

Firstly, the point is fairly made that Mr Damian Green does rather skate over the detail of the 1981 British Nationality Act in his effort to be on the liberal side of the debate.

But, secondly, there is a lot of pretty awful xenophobia and some clear racism in the discussion. Some of it is from BNP interlopers, but not all of it. There's rather too much on horses, stables, dogs and cats. I'm not going to quote the worst of it, but a couple of examples.

To be British you have to be White. Enf of story.
my ancestors didn't fight in 2 world wars to give the country away to any Tom, Dick or Harry that happens to be born here."

There are a couple of decent Tory voices protesting the discussion - thank you Sally Roberts in particular for her challenges to a "dreadful thread". Of course, moderating open sites is difficult but I hope this will be something the ConHome site editors will look at and sort out tomorrow.

1 comment:

J said...

Most of the time, fewer than half the comments on ConHome are from Tories. The rest are a few BNP (more than usual on that thread, I guess) and UKIPpers/Hefferites.