Is anyone pure British?

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Since the successful Brexit vote I have heard of physical attacks on people in this country who others think look, or sound, a bit foreign and of some people telling people to “go home”, so I wondered where is “home” really for all of us on the British mainland and the isles.

Can we really claim to be pure British when the country was originally settled by apes called homus erectus, followed by other apes called neanderthals, then humans called homo sapiens who took over until the ice age finished them off?

By 6,500 BC, the earth had heated up, melting the ice, the sea had risen and Britain became an island cut off from the rest of Europe but the homo sapiens were back heralding the start of many invasions by other immigrants, usually uninvited.

We also had the settlement in Britain of the Beaker people from Germany, the Celts, the Romans and, by AD 212, the Saxons, Jutes and Angles who gave the south of Britain the name Angle-land which was subsequently translated to “England” to cover that part of the island that excluded Scotland and Wales.

Later we saw the settlement, often after invasion, by the Vikings, the French and the Dutch William of Orange and his army.

In the 20th and 21st centuries our own invasions of Commonwealth countries, our interference throughout the last few centuries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Ireland and our freedom of movement commitment as a member of the European Union, have led to our absorption of many more people from diverse cultures.

Many of us would argue that this has greatly benefited the country, not just by adding extra colour (in all its meanings) to our society but by giving us much needed skills in many fields, including medicine and nursing, not to mention by providing the additional younger working people that are essential to pay the taxes we need for the pensions and health care of an ageing population.

Statisticians and economists have shown that, like Germany, our birth rate has not been sufficient to provide a workforce sufficient to pay the taxes we need to provide the pensions and health care for an ageing population, as well as other essential public services, so we have to think very carefully about how we handle immigration in the future.

So, I believe, that there is no such thing as a true British or English man or woman but, for those people who want to send all immigrants home, well maybe we should all pack up our suitcases, find our European passports (while they are still valid), put on our coats and pull down the blinds, put out the lights and go home to mainland Europe or to whatever other continent we, or our ancestors came from… if they’ll have us.

Patrick Hogan

Waterthorpe Rise, Westfield, Sheffield, S20

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