The UK & Ireland have moved across the world and work and live wherever they want to. In the past Britain marched with flags to take over from indigenous people without a care for their well-being. Modern Britain is a bastard nation – we are a combination of all who invaded us and those who we have opened our doors to.
With the current rise in racist and xenophobic attacks – both verbal and physical – we need to get things into perspective.
The first invasion was by the Celts in 1500BC, but just in the last 2000 years we have been invaded by:
- The Romans
- The Picts
- The Vikings
- The Normans
- The Anglo-Saxons
- The Danes
But then we also welcomed in many people, including:
- The Slaves we took from Africa in the 1700s
- Those from countries we invaded and made part of the Empire
- Those who after the collapse of the Empire chose to come and live here
- Jews fleeing Nazi persecution
- The West Indians in the 1950s
- Ugandans fleeing Idi Amin in the 1970s
- Americans, Canadians, Australians, South Africans in the 1980s as economic migrants
- Afro-Caribbeans into London also in the 80s
- From the 1990s we were accepting Economic Migrants looking for a better life; Asylum Seekers and Refugees fleeing the MIddle East and Africa because of persecution at home and the West’s constant bombing and invading; and the TWO WAY flow of people through the EU arrangements.
You see this is why it baffles me completely when I hear of racism and xenophobia because the UK couldn’t be more genetically multicultural if it tried. And the other point is that there are millions of us living and working around the world too. We benefit hugely from the idea of living in a multi-directional world. We are international citizens both through our ability to move around, but in Great Britain and Ireland it’s in our very blood. We are a combination of a melting pot that has bubbled constantly since people first moved to these islands.
We know that scientifically we all share our DNA with one woman who hailed from Ethiopia dubbed “Eve” so there are no groups who can state a true claim to these islands. So when you here the cry of “Take back our country” remind yourselves that we are only here because of a fluke of life, history and genetics. Our society is a combination of choices, self-made rules and regulations and a construct of what it means to be patriotic. Everything we are currently arguing about has been designed – it’s not natural. Our borders, time zones and countries are but inventions of leaders.
Today I wear a safety-pin on my waistcoat to say that I welcome and encourage those who have chosen to come here – for what ever reason – to feel part our Bastard family. Feel free to look to those of us wearing a safety-pin for help, a safe seat on the bus or train, or just as a reminder that you are welcome.
And more importantly I want to say thank you for the work you do in this country. From Cleaners to Pilots, Teachers to Doctors, Carers to Oil Workers you all make us a richer country in every sense of the word. Without you there would be no NHS to be proud of, or Schools for our children, or construction workers to build the infrastructure we so heavily rely on.
In Aberdeen if we didn’t have The Norwegians, The Dutch, The Danes, The French, The Germans, The Nigerians, The Americans, The Australians, The Canadians, The English, The Irish and The Welsh there would have never been an oil industry. And yes I specifically mention those from our sister nations in the UK because they still, in the 21st Century, face bigotry and xenophobia.
We are a Mongrel dog, a bastard child. But we are so much better for it in terms of culture, sport, education, food, friendships and life.
You are welcome.