Thinking outside the box

October 21, 2005

At the same conference, Baroness Onora O'Neill, principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, also had the issue of nationhood and ethnicity in her sights. But her ire was reserved for forms and paperwork used to monitor people's race. She said the ethnic categorisations commonly used in the UK - not least in the Census - spanned national identities, religions and cultural descriptions and were practically meaningless. "As a protestant from Northern Ireland, I choose between two boxes, White British and White Irish, and I sometimes tick one and sometimes the other. It's my own way of contributing to the unreliability of the statistics."

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