When Oliver met Mohammed

So there we are then. The most popular boy’s name in the country is Mohammed. Or Muhammed. Or maybe Mohamed. But the official statisticians say it is Oliver. What’s that about?

This is very simple. If you look to the Daily Mail or the Daily Telegraph or, Lord help you, the Express, the most popular name in the land is one of the various variants of Mohammed, largely because you would like it to be.

This is not to deny that a lot of people – overwhelmingly devotees of the Muslim faith – call their children Mohammed/Muhammed/Mohamed etc. They do. It’s the prophet’s name and they like it. But if the Mail or the Telegraph or Dirty Des’s Express are your thing, it’s grist to your mill to bundle the various spellings together and declare it the most popular choice, because white people in suburbs and villages don’t often call their children Mohammed (etc). Thus it becomes yet more evidence of the extent to which the country is overrun by dark-skinned migrants, especially over-fertile Muslims.

But if things were really that simple, why did other outlets: this one, the Sun, the Times, the Independent, go with the boys’ name officially deemed most popular, Oliver. Well they listened to the ONS, which made the point that the names are listed on the basis of what is written on the birth certificate. The statisticians don’t aggregate the variants and privately, they’re aggrieved at those who do so to make a fairly cheap political point.

Hugh Muir in the Guardian, 3 November 2010

See also ENGAGE, Tabloid Watch and Five Chinese Crackers.