MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Tribes of Britain

I have just finished reading David Miles' book on the Tribes of Britain. Whilst the first part of the book ticks all the boxes that I was expecting from Miles, a former Chief Archaeologist with English Heritage, in that it contained a mix of demographics, archaeological anecdotes and genetics, the second part certainly does not. In fact, the best description of the latter chapters is as a love letter to mass immigration.

Now the first question that springs to my mind is why on earth would Miles write a book on the British people when they seem to constantly be presented as nasty racists? And if you are going to talk about events you may as well get your facts right. For instance, Stephen Lawrence was murdered in 1993 not 1988 as Miles states.

Also, Miles correctly states that 'in 2003 new British citizens from Africa far outnumbered the combined total from the West Indies, Canada, Australia and America', with most of these coming from Somalia. He then says that this has gone unnoticed because 'they do not present too much of a problem' as they are 'mostly young, healthy, Anglophone and well educated'. Now I know that he wrote the book before two 'young, healthy' Somalians tried to blow-up Central London, but even so it proves his enthusiasm for immigration seriously clouds his judgement. And it is seems even more so when you consider that on the previous page he had exalted the 'Britishness' of a Caribbean island he had recently visited. Now although this is a little trite, it does at least have some truth to it: immigrants from places with similar cultures are obviously more likely to be able to integrate. Yet despite trying, I think, to make that point, a page later he seems to think it is wonderful that we now have mass immigration from Somalia!

All in all, it's a bit of a shame really, because if this book had ended at the chapter covering the 18th century I would have been enthusiastically endorsing it. Now, however, I must say that I won't be reading anything by Miles in the future. And as for English Heritage, an organisation of which I am a member, you do wonder about the sort of political bias that exists within it.

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