Like any country with a reputation for extremism, it's history will always be judged on the actions of extremists. The usual saying that history is judged by the victors does not yet apply to Northern Ireland, as it sometimes seems that the state of conflict has never really ended in the minds of much of its population.
Within British media and the Westminster Village, the recent release of the latest census data has sparked considerable debate. Much of this has focused on the extent to which some areas of London have experienced 'white flight', or whether we should be anxious about the fact that less than 8% of the population do not use English as their main language.
So what does this tell us? Well, while the census is an incredibly valuable tool for the government, providing a ten-year view of population data only paints part of the picture. If the government wants to be able to make smarter and more informed policy decisions, rather than retrospective analysis, it will need to be able to monitor demographic data in much more frequent intervals.
Of all the changes announced by the 2011 census, one of the most startling is the rapid change in the ethnic composition of London's population. This has caught experts by surprise and reflects an underestimate of the extent to which white British people have opted to leave an increasingly diverse London.
No one knows how many street children there are in the world. Finding out is one of the first recommendations of the recent UN study on street children to all its member states.
With the first census figures arriving today, we can expect a slew of alarmist stories about the dire demographic and social consequences of immigration. Many of these stories will cite public opinion surveys showing that the majority of British voters hold negative views about migration, and want it reduced.