In 2010, Nick Griffin made an appearance on BBC’s Question Time. Among many of his ridiculous claims, he said that the BNP was not a racist political party and that his interests were in the protection of (what he called) indigenous Brits. Now, it is easy to mock the arrogance and ignorance of one bigoted man, but his views are shared by many. So let’s have a look at what it means to be indigenous to Britain.
Migration Stage 1 – Nomads
Back when Great Britain became isolated from the rest of mainland Europe, there were no people on the continent; the series of migrations from Africa didn’t come until much later. When our ancestors were, eventually, moving throughout Europe, Britain remained a no-go area to a species that hadn’t invented boats. With successive ice ages, however, the falling sea levels allowed for foot traffic across (what we describe today as) the English Channel. People lived, hunted and populated that sometimes-undersea landscape and some of them will have found themselves on the island, itself. Let’s call these variously-timed first inhabitants members of an era called Migration Stage 1.
Migration Stage 2 – Celts
Over an extended period of time, largely unknown (due to the absence of written records) with any great detail, other than that provided by archaeology, people (and their cultures) moved across the navigable world. The island of Great Britain became populated by a group of people who can loosely be described as Celts. The traditions, practices, beliefs and artwork were shared by a larger Celtic society that extended across the rest of Europe. They must, then, have shared origins. These were what we can confidently describe as boat-builders; moving to (and populating) Great Britain. The timeframe is unknown, but it would have been an extensive one involving many different migrations. For simplicity, let’s group them all together and describe them as Migration Stage 2.
Migration Stage 3 – Romans
We can become more confident about timeframes when the first users of a written language moved to these islands. The Romans, in expanding their governance around the Mediterranean (and neighbouring European regions) arrived first as merchants and then as conquerors. Despite the easy conclusion that Britain was invaded by rampaging Italians, Rome offered citizenship to those they conquered. The legions that controlled Britain were made up of groups from many potential geographical regions. The seed of much of Europe (and Asia and Africa) lived and breathed on British soil for the better part of 400 years. Britain’s Celts still existed… but, whichever set of migrants you looked at, you would be very hard-pressed to find one which was guaranteed to be free of Rome’s genetic influence. Let’s call the Romans (and every merchant immigrant that arrived before and during this period) Migration Stage 3.
Migration Stage 4 – Anglo-Saxons
Following the breakdown of Rome’s Empire in the west, Britain’s local leaders found themselves in need of mercenary help, and they called on the help of Germanic tribes to fight for them. Those newly-arrived migrants soon decided that their military strength (in a land denuded of such things during the Roman conquest) allowed them to take the place for themselves. Britain became the home of Angles, Saxons and Jutes (with a side-serving of Frissians and Franks). The previous inhabitants (Romano-British) were still on the scene and were referred to as native Britons. The scene, however, was far from being a simple one. The whole island was a hotch-potch of variously-distributed ethnicities and cultures. Britain was an Anglo-Saxon island, by conquest. All of them were natives. Let’s call them Migration Stage 4.
Migration Stage 5 – Vikings
In the more northerly regions of Scandanavia, a warrior mentality saw profit in taking the property, livestock and (eventually) land of their neighbours. It was a more viable income source than the repeated father-to-son division of limited arable land. Their targets were the more southerly stretches of Europe and their means of transportation was the sea. These islands were a particularly popular stopping-off point for looting, pillaging and (importantly) rape. Whether they stayed (and many did) or they left, Viking seed became deeply impenetrated (‘scuse the pun) in the genetic makeup of the British Isles. This extended period of genetic influx can be called Migration Stage 5.
Migration Stage 6 – Normans
These islands weren’t the only places populated by Viking blood in this timeframe. On the west coast of France, one group of Norsemen became very well established. Over time, a (very) slightly more civilised version of these warmongers would eventually find political reasons for claiming Kingship over England. When politics failed, war quickly took its place and the final, largescale, war-based invasion of these islands took place. The Anglo-Saxons, already genetically familiar with Norse blood, were dominated by a more powerful breed of Norse men who intended on staying – and the Normans did exactly that. We will call them Migration Stage 6.
Migration Stage 7 – Mercantile
With no more full-scale invasion forces to mention since 1066, it is less easy to give clearly delineated stages of migration over the subsequent 1000 years. Migration certainly took place, though. As well as a pan-European mixing pot of royal marriages (and royal influences) opening up trade routes, with a mercantile class that was built upon the trading posts of cities and ports – smaller (but continuous) migrations took place. Other than the arrival of new (to these islands) religious beliefs, such as Jewish communities, the movement of people cannot easily be documented. People moved where the trade of goods moved them and Europe was an open-plan region of legally-understood borders, with no legally-understood passport control. The only barriers were the ability to move – and the ability to communicate. It is a process which, largely, still continues into modern times, but to isolate it from the last (important) stage of migration, I’m going to pull those thousand years together into a loose affliation which can be called Migration Stage 7.
Migration Stage 8 – Empire
The mercantile expansion of Britain would, in time, move from purely commercial into commercial-political. Britain produced the largest (and shortest-lived) empire that the world has seen – before or since. In each of the colonial states of that empire, Britain was portrayed as the Mother Country. The hopes and ideals that were established and imprinted upon those people, was that their countries should be as prosperous and “civilised” as the nation that was building theirs. Unsurprisingly, this made Britain an idealised place to move to for those seeking prosperity and betterment. Particularly in the latter stages of the old empire, Britain saw an influx of new migrants. After World War 2, with a depleted (male) workforce, the immigration from the old empire was a given an important necessitation. A land that had been familiarly white-faced for so many years, was now seeing a migration of melanin, not just a migration of cultures across a pan-European landscape.
And it is this most recent migration stage that most discomforts Nick Griffin and those who think like him, as he rampages against ongoing migration in a period that someone, some day, might call Migration Stage 9. As he seeks to panic his followers about the potential of the Islamification of Britain, he offers “voluntary” repatriation so that existing “non-indigenous” Brits can return whence they first came. Even if it was their parents, grandparents or great grandparents who originally arrived on the boat from some far-flung branch of the old British empire.
If we pretend (for a moment) that Nick Griffin, the BNP and every mouth-breathing xenophobe who parrots the same bigoted shite… aren’t (in fact) racist… could we, perhaps, look back at the history of Britain and ask how an indigenous Brit can be identified? Which Migration Stage should we be talking about? Nick Griffin, magicked up the number of 17,000 years – which would have involved the nomads of Migration Stage 1. Yes, that’s right… Gypsie-hating Griffin describes the idealised aboriginal Brit as a descendent of a travelling population.
Sometimes, irony is just too delicious for words.
I challenge Griffin (and his “indigenous” kith and kin) to find a single living person in Britain who has descended those 17,000 years without ever having a family member that migrated here during stages 2 to 8. Including Griffin, himself.
Every single person in this country is either an immigrant or directly descended from an immigrant. The beauty of it is, most of that migration was done without legal consent.
Every last one of us is the spawn of illegal immigrants.