A melting pot big enough to take the world and all it's got
At some point in the 1990s, a supposedly alarming headline appeared in the often-illiberal London Evening Standard. The paper reported that, if demographic trends continued, white Americans would soon become a minority “in their own country”.
It’s hard to know where to begin when unpicking the ethical and logical infelicities of that phrase. If the United States “belongs” to any one people then it is to the Native American nations who were so unceremoniously disenfranchised by a tide of Europeans thugs.
There isn’t much chance of the Sioux and the Apache regaining control of North America. It is, thus, reasonable to accept that no one race deserves the right to keep its collective fist on the nation’s tiller.
Belated confirmation of the Standard’s doomsday scenario arrived this week with a new projection from the US Census Bureau. It seems as if poor wee white Americans will, by 2043, cease to enjoy majority status. The demographics are complex. The rate of immigration from Spanish-speaking nations has declined, but a higher birth rate among that sector ensures an eventual slide into minority for white folk.
Meanwhile, the UK census has revealed interesting facts about the racial and religious make-up of that country. As we have come to expect, those hilarious cards who fill in “Jedi” under faith have, once again, helped the intergalactic belief system to a position as the most-popular alternative faith. (Given that the United Kingdom has an established church, surely all other religions count as “alternatives”. Just a thought.)
Four million fewer identify themselves as Christians than did so 10 years ago. In Northern Ireland, the Protestant population has dipped below 50 per cent.
The most diverting statistics are, however, those relating to immigration. As many as one in eight people living in England and Wales were born outside those countries. India, Poland and Pakistan gave Britain the greatest number of new residents over the last decade.
In the Republic, the people of Poland are also making an impact. Our last census suggested about 767,000 people currently in the country were born elsewhere. The largest rise was from that admirable east European country.
Something interesting is happening to the democratic west. The changes have been under way for quite some time. Forty-four years have passed since Enoch Powell kicked up hysteria about immigration by disingenuously suggesting black children were pushing dog poo through letter boxes in the English west midlands.
That “rivers of blood” speech was delivered a full two decades after the Empire Windrush delivered 493 West Indian immigrants to Tilbury docks. Jews, Normans, Saxons, Africans and Dutch people have been inserting themselves into British society for centuries.