I wrote a blog a couple of months ago about how Britain is full of immigrants.
Well, last night, I filled in my Census form.
I didn’t mind doing it, but a friend of mine was more incensed than Censused because her father was in the British Armed Forces and they lived in a variety of other countries around the world as well as the UK, employed by Her Majesty’s Government.
My friend was born in Malta. Her brother was born in West Germany.
The Census form, which partly aims to get figures for immigration and to see how many non-Britons are living in the UK, has buggered it up good and proper and the figures on which the government bases its future social policies will be wrong.
The form asks Were you born abroad? There’s no category for British citizens born abroad, let alone the children of British Forces born abroad while their fathers and/or mothers were sometimes risking their lives for Britain. So an Italian born in Rome will appear in the statistics on an equal footing with a British passport holder born abroad – both will count as foreigners who entered this country to stay here.
The form also asks, in effect, when you first moved to the UK full-time. My friend’s father’s last posting abroad was in West Germany, so the answer to this question might be 1973. Or it might be 1958, a couple of years after she was born and first came ‘home’ from Malta; but that was not permanent residence.
As far as the Census figures will show, she (born in Malta) and her brother (born in Germany) will be two non-British people who became foreign immigrants into the UK.
In fact, by anyone’s standards, they were two British people – technically “Forces’ dependents” – returning to Britain.
And don’t get my friend talking about other ways in which the children of Forces’ personnel are disadvantaged – “I feel like a stranger in my own land,” she says. “Always have done. Probably always will.”
She once applied for a clerical job with a defence industry company in the UK but was turned down – after at first being accepted – because the company said it could only employ people born in the UK.
She presumably counted as a security risk because she was not “British”, despite the fact her British father served in the British Armed Forces and she was born in a British military base.
So these bloody foreigners have been coming over here, stealing our jobs and getting free healthcare for years, haven’t they? Not just children of the British Armed Forces but all those bloody Indian immigrants - like Cliff Richard (born in Lucknow) and Joanna Lumley (Srinagar).
It’s been going on for years. The place has been inundated by Indian immigrants – There’s that one who starred in Gone With The Wind – Vivien Leigh (born in Darjeeling, lived in Calcutta), comedian Spike Milligan (born in Ahmednagar and he became so pissed-off with not being considered “British” by Whitehall bureaucrats because of his birthplace that he eventually took Irish citizenship)… and then there’s that bloody foreigner LibDem MP Paddy Ashdown (born New Delhi).
They should all have been sent packing back to where they came from. Back to… err… erm…
And let’s not even mention that dodgy cross-dressing comedian bloke from terrorist-friendly Yemen – Eddie Izzard (born in Aden)
Or William Makepeace Thackeray (Calcutta).
So who is British?
Now there’s a question.
One that the Census won’t adequately answer.
In fact, one that the Census figures will mis-represent.