John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Monday, August 15, 2005
  Government by press release
Hazel Blears' idea of a rebranding of ethnic categories shows the dangers of government by press release.

Anyone who has any knowledge of the history of Ireland and the battles to stop the Irish being British would know that gestures such as describing all Irish people in Great Britain as Irish British would cause untold stress.

Luckily the government have given up on that.

Ethnic categories and identity are things that really people need to be able to decide upon themselves. The rows about categories relate also to self-determination. They are important, but deserve consideration. I tend towards self-determination as an option. This may result in "Jedi" being counted, but I don't see that as a problem.
 
Comments:
I thought the battles were to stop the British in Ireland.
 
I think the government has begun to lose it's mind, understandably after recent events. In trying to find an explanation as how and why British born Muslims would be drawn to attack the very country they owe allegiance to, the governemnt has tried to cling to every reason other than the root cause. No doubt identity is a factor in 'dis-integration' as are social, economic and historic affiliations, but these factors have been with immigrant communities for decades (if not centuries).
 
The actions of certain English/British armed forces over numerous centuries were clearly one aspect.

My understanding, however, was that it was a campaign for the independence of Ireland from the United Kingdom.

There are so many elements of uncertainty about the word "British" in any event. A British Citizen is not generally a citizen of Britain, but a citizen of the United Kingdom. Indeed Great Britain is the name of a big island not a country.

People do, however, tend to use the word British to mean someone who is part of the United Kingdom.

We then have the fact that a lot of people have both UK and Irish passports. Quite a few people living in the UK have only Irish passports. A lot of people living in Ireland now have Eastern European passports.

I agree with Shaz that it is clear that parts of the government clearly do not understand in any way what is going on.
 
Surely everyone should either have the choice of being labelled "British" or just call themselves "English", "Scottish", "Welsh" e.t.c. Surely many of the problems that members of ethnic minorities face is linked to the fact that they are constantly labelled as Indian, Chinese, Afro-Caribbean et cetera.
I think Hazel Blears's ideas completely miss the point. If there are more radical Muslims in the towns and cities of Britain out there who wish to cause harm to people, another loudly-trumpeted directive from Whitehall in the guise of ministers "thinking aloud" isn't going to stop them.
 
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