Always keen to pick a fight with Britain’s socially conservative opponents of mass immigration, the BBC is using DNA evidence to prove London has always been a “diverse” city. But guess what? Even Emperor Constantius could have told you that – and he’s been dead 1,700 years.
Chances are, if you were born in the United Kingdom and care about it, you’ll also know some simple things about its history. Key dates, people, places — what one might pithily refer to as “1066 and all that”.
One might know for instance that London was founded by the Romans as a centre of trade on the river Thames. The location gave them excellent access to the ports of northern Europe while being far enough inland to take advantage of the rich mineral wealth of the British Isles for export.
Anyone who went to a state school before the Labour Party decided child-centric education was a great thing might also know that after the mass migration and barbarian incursions that brought forth the collapse of the Roman empire and their withdrawal from Britain, the City of London stood near abandoned for decades.
Being resettled by recognisably British peoples in the 6th century, London retained an essentially majority homogeneous character ever since — a near 1,500 year run.
Although the majority of Londoners have until recently always been of this one group, there has always been this oft-celebrated ‘diversity’ of inhabitants. As befits a mercantile city which eventually grew to a centre of global trade, transient foreign groups have come and gone over the centuries.
London was, along with other major coastal British and northern European cities, a member of the Hanseatic league — a sort of Tudor predecessor to the European Common Market, except without the suffocating political union and Kafkaesque laws. This continental influence is quite besides the French protestants, small numbers of empire slaves, eastern European Jews, and others who came to London before the mass migration which started in the 20th century.
Yet the BBC’s ‘one in the eye for the racists’ attitude towards DNA testing the large archive of excavated graves held by the Museum of London deliberately ignores the simple fact of this settled-British, London population. A population that might be referred to as a “white working class” that remained constant for centuries while other transient groups came and sometimes went.
This attitude is best displayed by the presumably carefully chosen bodies picked first for DNA analysis — against all sense of proportionality for the people who have in fact made London for over a millennia, only one of the four tested so far was a “native Briton”.
With two of those tested from beyond the bounds of Europe, and the third from the continent, the mix picked for analysis perhaps deliberately more closely resembles the modern London Borough of Tower Hamlets where over half of the population originates from outside Europe, and fewer than a third are native British, according to census figures.
This sort of diversity — or rather homogeneity of foreign peoples, as it now is — is totally alien to Britain, and to London. For the first time ever the city is now minority white British, a remarkable change wrought by mass migration and white flight.
Not even in the founding days under the Roman merchants was the city so “diverse” as it is today, and proving otherwise with selective reporting on foreigners who happened to be buried in the city over the past 1,900 years is deceitful, and contrary to recent, genuine scientific studies which have proven beyond doubt the settled nature of Britain’s native peoples.
In some strange twist of fate, there is today a bronze statue of the Roman Emperor Trajan standing before the old city walls in the Borough of Tower Hamlets. A great military leader who pushed the boundaries of the Roman Empire and ruled much of Britain remotely, one might very well wonder what he would have made of Londinium today.