Sunday, 9 August 2015

The greatest change to the genetic make-up of Britain in over 10,000 years: modern immigration in perspective

A week ago, I posted a blog about the origins of the English and their language. One of the two books I cited was The Origins of the British: The New Prehistory of Britain: A Genetic Detective Story by Stephen Oppenheimer, which uses the evidence provided by genetic markers to (among other things) determine the extent and effects  of various historical invasions by tribes such as the Angles, the Saxons, the Vikings and the Normans. I found some of the scientific evidence hard to follow (I’m useless at science) but everything else Oppenheimer said made sense – except for this statement on page 486:

"I have given a number of percentages relating to individual migration events in this book. The largest figures come from our first hunter-gatherer founders, while figures for more recent arrivals, such as Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, rarely top 10% locally and 6% overall. Perusing our national census for more recent minority immigration, those figures seem no more dramatic. Recent migrations into Britain have been proportionately minor compared with the pioneer events, so minor that the biggest ‘increases’ are attributable to ways of measuring.”
Oppenheimer finishes his book with a sideswipe at Enoch Powell in particular and what he calls “political rabble-rousers” in general, pointing out that the increase in immigration during the past half century has not resulted in “rivers of blood”. In the preceding paragraph he tells us, mainly referring to his own children’s enjoyment of two main cultural and genetic backgrounds (English and Malaysian Chinese): "I would personally prefer ethnic identity to be more a self-chosen smorgasbord than anything that might be imposed by others.”

Ah, sweet! Obviously written during what was probably the high-water mark of politically-enforced (as opposed to naturally-arising) multiculturalism in this country. His comments struck me as a bit odd, even in 2007, two years after four young Northerners - Mohammad Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Germaine Lindsay, and Hasib Mir Hussain, decided that their self-chosen smorgasbord included strapping bombs to themselves in order to murder 52 Londoners and injure a further 770. And, of course, Oppenheimer couldn’t have foreseen hundreds of young British Muslims - probably more - choosing to underline their ethic and religious identity by jetting off to the Middle East in order to bomb, rape, torture and behead anyone who disagreed with them – and, if they manage to survive, no doubt heading back here with similar plans in mind for their fellow UK passport-holders.

One hell of a smorgasbord.

But what struck me as distinctly odd about Oppenheimer’s comments – especially as the rest of the book is so impressively rational – was his eagerness to dismiss recent migrations into Britain as barely worth mentioning. True, he was relying on the 2001 census, but even that demonstrated the remarkable extent of recent (i.e. post-war) immigration. By the 2011 census, the figures are truly extraordinary: the combined total for blacks and Asians in Britain is 11.3% of the current population. That’s not counting the genetic contribution from the 2.3% who are described as British Mixed, where the “mixture” includes blacks or Asians. (And, of course, it doesn’t take into account the flood of EU nationals – Poles, Romanians, Bulgarians etc – who’ve entered the country since 2004. Neither does it take account of all the illegal immigrants the authorities don’t know about.)

There were, of course, black and Asian immigrants in this country before the passenger ship Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury from Jamaica on 22 June 1948 carrying 482 West Indian migrants, an event which, it’s generally accepted, marked the start of mass immigration into Britain (according to some historical BBC drama series, about half the population of Victorian England was BME). But the vast majority of those who describe themselves as of black or Asian origin have either arrived in this country since 1948, or are descended from parents or grandparents who did.

Unless I’ve got hold of entirely the wrong end of the stick, blacks and Asians – after less than 70 years of immigration - make up as great a proportion of the population of Britain as all the Angles, Saxons and Vikings did after 600 years of invading, conquering and settling. 

The main difference between the earlier "invaders" and the modern variety is that the original ones – with a few exceptions - weren’t invited, while the great majority of modern migrants have either been encouraged to settle here or (more recently) have been allowed to do so because of decidely liberal immigration laws.  But that doesn’t alter the plain fact that the genetic make-up of Britain has been changed more comprehensively in the last 68 years than it has been since the repopulation of Britain in the Mesolithic, which started 11,500 years ago.

I’m not saying this is right or wrong, or scary, or otherwise: I just think it’s worth noting that the indigenous people of Britain (well, England, actually) have – on the whole - accepted these seismic population changes with enormous civility, equanimity, and restraint. Trying to dismiss what the English have experienced as barely worth mentioning strikes me as equally arrogant and insensitive as suggesting that many immigrants haven't made a positive contribution to English life. The difference is that the English are forever being told that - despite undergoing the greatest peace-time invasion in their history with barely a peep of protest - they're a bunch of rabid racists who need to be far more sensitive and accommodating to incomers, while the whole of our liberal-left establishment displays, with almost evangelical zeal, a determination to convince us that all immigrants are utterly fabulous. All bloody nonsense, of course. The English have shown an extraordinary willingness to accept change that they didn't ask for: it's time they were thanked for it.


  1. If you want to thoroughly depress yourself, spend half an hour or so comparing the respective birthrates of Muslim immigrants and the indigenous people of Europe.

    Even if we ignore race - and whatever lies Blair and the Left have passed into law, religion is not race - it seems certain that several major European countries could very well become Muslim states by the middle of this century. The prediction has been made that Germany will be leading the way, with England not too far behind.

    People think I am exaggerating when I suggest that Blair and his henchmen should be tried for treason. I am not.

    1. I'd prefer that Blair and his chums were sentenced to ten years living on a sink estate in Rotherham: this might allow them all to experience the consequences of New Labour's absolutely super, enlightened policies. (I wonder if Cherie would choose to accompany him and if their glamorous international "friends" would be willing to pay them regular visits.)