Tuesday, 10 July 2012

London was invented by foreigners


If there is one publication I hate most, the Guardian of course excepted, it is the Economist.

Today a piece on the joys of immigration into London included these thoughts

“London was invented by foreigners.”

We cannot know whether London existed before the Romans came to Rye or out to Severn strode, although Ptolemy records it as one of the cities of the Cantiaci, the Celtic inhabitants of Kent. The only recorded British city that existed when the Romans came is Colchester, I believe. Certainly the Romans built a city at London. It is thought (I am not convinced there is much strong evidence either way) that it was deserted after the Romans left and re-invented by the English (more precisely, the Saxons) not long after the defeat of Artorius (the legendary King Arthur). It lay in the Kingdom of Essex, my much-derided native place.

All peoples are immigrants at some point - they did not spring out of the ground - but London was not  a very cosmopolitan city at all until at least the Second World War when Poles, Free French and GIs arrived, but even in 1948, when the first boatload of West Indian immigrants arrived, the non-white population of the UK was somewhere between ten and twenty thousand, mostly lascars and their families living near the docks. Many people want to disguise this well-known fact and very many more have been persuaded that the English are the product of continuous waves of immigration, instead of remaining remarkably homogenous after the Normans and the English became one people. The Huguenots were no more than about 40,000. The Jews were far more numerous which is why the Aliens Act 1905 was passed to stop immigration from outside the Empire - by 1919 they amounted to about 250,000. I have seen the British Brothers who agitated for the Act being described as racists and fascists avant la lettre but no-one has ever suggested repealing the provisions of the Act which in 1962 were extended to apply to British subjects overseas and Commonwealth citizens The Irish moved from one part of the United Kingdom to another and were therefore not immigrants any more than the Scots or Welsh.
“Even the children of the earlier, poorer, immigrants are generally doing well…Bangladeshis have just overtaken whites, and black Africans are nearly on a par with them.”
Very interesting news. The Labour Party seems to have been the worst enemy the working class ever had but Labour has made up for the decline in the working class by creating a new constituency of support.
“All this has changed London utterly. It has created a new elite: foreigners, or recently naturalised Britons, dominate the best neighbourhoods and the best schools (see article). It has altered the sound of the streets: English is not the first language of 22% of Londoners and 42% of London children. It has given rise to “multicultural London English”, as the linguists call it—a mix of Cockney, Jamaican and other languages spoken by the young of all ethnic groups.”
Whether this is a good thing depends to some extent on how good a thing you think traditions are. 

“But last year’s riots were a picture of multiracial harmony, with black and white looting side by side.”

I suspect this is rather over played for propaganda reasons and have seen some evidence that most people brought before the courts in connection with the riots were non-white and that this was in large part an old fashioned race riot in which some whites joined in, but oddly, although apartheid-style figures on ethnicity are kept to measure unfairness and discrimination, they seem not to be kept where criminal offences are concerned. I have seen a somewhat rough estimate, based on the names of defendants, that fewer than 25% of them were white.

I rather mourn repressed class-conscious monarchist London of the black and white films with its cult of low-key respectability. Though I doubt if I should have fitted in there.


  1. I share your dislike of The Guardian and the Economist! :-)

    This “London was invented by foreigners” article is probably exemplificative of the same propaganda mechanisms that are at work in Romania, for instance the attempt to find the DNA of the founders of Wallachia, to see wether they were Cumans and Pechenegs, and not of a 'pure Romanian' stock.


    "Black and white looting side by side?!" - that's an absurdity...