"Racial integration increasing, study shows", said the Guardian.
UK 'growing more racially integrated'
Well, integration must be a positive thing, surely ? So it's good news at last, after the depressing series of riots in British cities over the last five years - and there's more.
The study also says that immigration is not the reason for increased numbers of non-white Britons over the past decade, and that "white flight" from inner cities is another myth.
So all those deluded commentators are worrying about nothing, then ?
Well, not exactly. The study, by Dr Steve Simpson of Manchester University, takes as a measure of integration the number of electoral wards with an ethnic minority population of 10% or above. I'm not sure this measure of integration is quite what most people would mean by the word. They'd consider it implied some sense of shared values, of 'cultural signifiers' held in common. Physical proximity rather than cultural commonality isn't necessarily a recipe for a happy society, as the 1947 Punjab, 1990s Bosnia or 2005 Lozells attest. The Guardian report itself notes that Birmingham now has 27 'integrated' wards out of 39, an increase of exactly 50% in ten years.
Stripped of it's 'integration' spin, Dr Simpson is showing us the simple fact that an increasing proportion of the English population is non-Native, a trend that shows no signs of abating.
What about the claim that the increased ethnic minority population is nothing to do with immigration ?
"The common myth is that the growth of the ethnic minority population is due to immigration. That's not true - it is more due to the growth of [ethnic minority] people born in Britain."
Ethnic minority populations are younger and have fewer elderly people than white communities. The number of Asian and black people is increasing because fewer die from old age and they have more women of childbearing age relative to white people.
I see. And rain is caused by little drops of water falling from the sky - it's got nothing to do with those grey fluffy things that block the sun.
You could just about stretch his 'point' - if you argue that the descendants of immigrants (not immigrants themselves) have a high birthrate. Otherwise, where are all those women of childbearing age coming from ?
But of course it's not even true by that measure. A professional demographer like Dr Simpson must be aware of the ONS figures (p75) showing that nearly one in five of all babies born in England has a mother who herself was not born in the UK ?
You'd almost think Dr Simpson was making the facts fit some pre-conceived agenda - but surely not - the man's an academic who will look dispassionately at the facts. Does this (I forgive him the apostrophes, painful though they are) read like the work of a man with a political axe to grind ?
Certainly on current demographic trends we can look forward to many more such cheery reports in the Guardian.
PS - in my post of last December I opined that Fiji might be, not exactly a model - more a warning of our political future.
I wonder if Mark Steyn read it ?