Friday, 29 July 2016

Closed Books

The Belfast Telegraph has an interesting article on how "British" or "Irish" people are according to a DNA study. Eyebrows will be raised at the way "British" has been defined as "Anglo-Saxon" — both in Wales, home of the actual Britons, and in Scotland, where, owing to the limitations of the method, native Gaels are presumably being classed as "Irish", a conflation last flung at them as a Lowlander's term of abuse in the eighteenth century.

If that is the case, one of the findings must be that Scotland, prior to mass Irish immigration in the nineteenth century, was almost equally Anglic and Gaelic (if the utopian plans voiced in some quarters for a post-Brexit union of Scotland and Ireland are ever to come to pass, those mooting them might be well advised to drop the term "Celtic"). Regrettably, no markers of Pictish or Welsh ancestry seem to have been followed up (in the case of Wales, the derived statistics must therefore be of doubtful value).

No figures are offered regarding the make-up of those in southern Ireland, but it would be unsurprising if the "British" constituent were really quite large. Indeed, some people already quote statistics about how those with British (or Norman) surnames are, ironically enough, more likely to support Fine Gael.

Of course, perhaps the most fruitful conclusion that we can draw from the study is that we're all Jock Tamson's bairns and all a mixtur-maxtur (we kind of knew that anyway). The best way that we can celebrate that hidden diversity is to fight racism and support our languages.

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