The Paisley Paradox: Mixing hardline unionism with various flavours of nationalism…

THREE hundred years after the Act of Union, the UUP’s David Burnside tried to put Ian Paisley on the spot over his relationship with the SNP premier of Scotland. Paisley’s much more practical about his relations with separatists these days, and brushed of the broadside with a comment amounting to ‘Salmond’s got his views, I’ve got mine, and we don’t let that get in the way of working together for our mutual benefit’ – although there is perhaps more ambiguity in the First Minister’s response than first meets the eye. The dialogue between Burnside and Paisley is copied below the fold, alongside some discussion of the First Minister’s recent News Letter interview in which he argues that his decision to share power with Irish republicans has been vindicated.From Monday’s Hansard:

Mr Burnside asked the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister to outline what discussions it has had on constitutional issues with the First Minister of Scotland. (AQO 1157/08)

The First Minister: The Member will be aware that the deputy First Minister and I met the First Minister of Scotland earlier this year. At that meeting, we acknow­ledged our shared culture, history and interests, and discussed greater co-operation between our two Administrations for mutual benefit.

By “constitutional issues”, I assume that the Member means the position of Scotland and Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom. Such issues were not discussed. The Union is secure. The First Minister of Scotland has well-known views on the future constitutional position of his country. However, that is for him — and his party — to take forward with the people of Scotland, and has no bearing on the future government of our country.

3.00 pm

Mr Burnside: Will the First Minister withdraw his support for the Scottish First Minister’s statement that he wished in the future that The Queen should become queen of Scotland? That could only take place after the ending of the 1707 Act of Union. Will he disassociate himself from those remarks and give a commitment that the only queen that we will have in the future in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will hold a unitary crown — one crown, and one queen for the whole of the United Kingdom?

Mr Speaker: Please be brief, First Minister.

The First Minister: The Queen is the queen of Scotland, and I would like her always to be the queen of Scotland. However, Scotland has a right to decide for itself, and whatever it decides is not our business. Everybody knows that I believe in the Union and stand for the Union; a union of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, that does not prevent me from speaking to the First Minister of Scotland. The First Minister of Scotland is a member of the Privy Council, and I would advise the honourable Member to read the oath of the Privy Council and then decide a person’s loyalty.

Burnside is asking his question on the back of this Telegraph interview with Salmond. Here’s the relevant extract:

But if he wants political divorce from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there is one aspect of the relationship that he is keen to maintain – the monarchy.

This may be surprising from the leader of a party with a huge republican element but Mr Salmond is unequivocal in his support for the Queen and the institution she represents.

“I find the Queen in very lively form. She looks in robust health and I envisage her as being Queen of Scots for a very long time to come.

“The Union which is up for discussion and is the key part of the debate in Scotland is the political union of 1707 not the monarchical union of 1603.

“The monarchy is very important because some people, not many hopefully, still have the impression that in gaining independence and political control – so far as you can have it in the modern world – we want to shut ourselves away from everyone and everything.

“It is just the opposite. Things we enjoy and have in common would still be shared. In the sense that the monarchy is a symbol of that social union then I think it is very important to stress that point.”

Now, for a hardline Unionist, Paisley’s view is remarkably sympathetic to Salmond’s – a nationalist who is ‘soft’ on the monarchy. The Queen can be the ‘Queen of Scotland’ in the same way as she is the head of state in other countries, for example Australia, but that doesn’t make those countries part of the United Kingdom. I find Paisley’s relaxed attitude to Salmond’s position more typical of an ‘Ulster nationalist’ than a ‘British unionist’, and while he adds that he believes and stands for a union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, it’s a far cry from the booming rhetoric of the past.

Similar sentiments could be detected in Paisley’s interview with the News Letter’s Stephen Dempster the other day. Asked how we arrived at this point, Paisley answered:

“Well the major division in our country was always on politics and I am a strong believer and have always preached that if there was going to be a deal done it would be by the people of Northern Ireland. It would not be done by the influence of the British Government or the American authorities. And until the leaders of the Ulster people did it there could be no peace in Ulster.

“We had people coming in and pushing us around and telling us how to run our lives. We resisted that and while what we have is not perfect for anyone, we stuck by the principles of democracy and we got there in the end. The victory was won.”

And asked how he felt about doing the deal with republicanism, the First Minister said:

“I feel extremely vindicated. I think I was vindicated from day one because our opponents at the elections said we would not share power with Sinn Fein and we were saying anybody that agrees to our proposition, in respect of government, in respect of law and order, we would have to share power with that party.

And we persisted on our course until people supported law and order and proper democracy. And Tony Blair didn’t do anything, it was the Ulster people and their leaders made the decision.”

The interview is worth reading, as it clearly shows a man concerned with the legacy he leaves behind.

  • DC

    In terms of law and order Paisley is currently presiding over over-riding legislation in place that restricts non-Catholics from joining the police.

    This was the war-dance that won little Jeffrey, the boy soldier, his battle with Trimble. But alas, equality of opportunity is down as Protestant applications bottom out.

    With the rest of the stuff about Paisley’s stance and being vindicated. Nonsense, absolute nonsense.

    He states he wasn’t steered by the British and Americans nor encouraged towards new thinking, nonsense. He espouses democracy like it means something to him personally whenever it doesn’t as most of the glory came from derision of those who stepped forward to fall on the sword of compromise. His refusal to co-operate in the face of unbearable change while now returning to claim victory for the battle is just ridiculous, nonsense.

    The DUP are, in light of never-never U-turns, unable to suspend disbelief over the view that current party functions moves them into the hypocrite zone. Politically bankrupted yet financially well-off.

    We can remember your stunts, we know you said no, we know you belittled negotiations that ruined opportunity for stronger co-operation, split and split further, splits that cost lives too.

    The Paisley legacy is one not of vindication but is instead one of arrogance, a self-possessed belief that only Paisley is good enough. It is arrogance, like an old Prussian general waiting for the victory that never really came.

    He had to have his own Church, his own order, his own party the only thing he remains without is his own Northern Ireland. It is split but it is down the apparent middle, a co-equal.

    Don’t feed us your nonsense, you’re a tub-thumper and it is easy to see why him and McGuinness get along so well, as they both lack political integrity and principle.

    Paisley’s downfall is that his principle was built on religion, something you can’t sacrifice the way he has done.

  • Perhaps Paisley is only applying to Scotland the ‘Ulster nationalist’ logic of the consent principle that the UUP ensured was enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement.

  • DC

    No that is what happened when Ulster meet Nationalism back in 97-98, it formed the basis of the democratic compromise for the people of Northern Ireland.

    It was something that wasn’t modified at St Andrews.

  • Nevin

    “And Tony Blair didn’t do anything, it was the Ulster people and their leaders made the decision”

    Would this be the same Papa Doc who said he was forced into the deal? Presumably he was given a choice of the present arrangements and joint direct rule by London and Dublin.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Had the same thought myself; it is a bit contradictory. I think the DUP would probably argue that they did not abide by the government deadline. However, since they went into power sharin shortly afterwards it says to me this was a face-saving exercise.

  • parci

    I think its a lot simpler: Paisley knows if he starts bellowing, people will see it as bigotry and nervousness. He wants to appear relaxed and in control.. “the union is safe” is the mantra.

    I happen to believe events towards Irish Unity will move much more quickly with FF in the North, and the Scottish separatists gaining momentum, but Paisley won’t be around when the Union finally groans and grinds to a halt, and is abolished.
    I think he knows that too, so he might as well enjoy himself now.

  • pith

    Paisley’s bellowing bigotry brought a host of unpleasant consequences over 40 years. Whether one is a unionist, a nationalist or neither it is surely evident that he helped enormously to undermine the union between GB and NI. I don’t think his new relaxed style will make any difference to that.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I take your point, but I also think that news of the Union’s death is very premature. Despite the growing nationalism, I suspect it will be around for a long time, albeit adapted to new circumstances.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I happen to believe events towards Irish Unity will move much more quickly with FF in the North, and the Scottish separatists gaining momentum’

    Plausible

    ‘but Paisley won’t be around when the Union finally groans ‘

    Been hearing this caveat for a decade or more . I would’nt bet on it 🙂

    ‘I also think that news of the Union’s death is very premature. Despite the growing nationalism, I suspect it will be around for a long time, albeit adapted to new circumstances. ‘

    The Union failed adapt to the strains imposed by the growth of Irish Nationalism in the 19th century . Are we to assume that lessons have been learned and that the same mistakes will not be made with Scotland .

    Seems to me that Paisley if nothing else is a pragmatic politician. Anymore of this kind of pragmatism from Paisley and he’ll soon be accused of being a closet FF man .

    As an Irish Nationalist I don’t particularly welcome the breakup of the British Union . For all it’s faults it did provide political stability for the better part of 300 years even if Ireland’s benefit from the union was the least of all the member ‘nations’. The ‘new’ Union i.e the EU has been much more beneficial at least economically for Ireland than ever the ‘old’ Union was .

    Adaptation of the Union . Perhaps something along the Scandinavian model might work ?

  • Dewi

    “As an Irish Nationalist I don’t particularly welcome the breakup of the British Union”

    So much for Celtic solidarity Greenflag ! Why ever not – it’s an Anglocentric, Archaic institution in a consitutional quagmire.

  • BonarLaw

    “an Anglocentric, Archaic institution in a consitutional quagmire.”

    no Dewi, thats the Welsh Assembly.

  • dewi

    Agree that our constitutional position is a bit of a mess but precisely the opposite of archaic and anglocentric I suggest.

  • Hogan

    I would like to print a copy of the debate in the house and send it to every person on a housing or hospital waiting list in South Antrim and explain that this is what David Burnside thinks he was elected to do.

    The man’s arrogance for the man on the street is beyond belief.

    From what i understand the other UUP candidate was actually a decent sort of spud and yet unionists elect this cretan?

    Waken up South Antrim!!!!

  • Phil

    Anglocentric? You’re having a giraffe, Dewi! There is no English Secretary of State or English Office, we have no English First Minister or Parliament and there is no English version of the Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat parties. If that is Anglocentric, I’d hate to see what it would be like if my country wasn’t recognised by the British union!

  • dewi

    Anglocentric in a cultural institutional fashion. All roads lead to London. Olympic spend classed as of UK wide benefit thus screwing us under Barnett (and taking piles of lottery dosh from us). Archaic in a techological sense – like the opposite of progress is stagnation – roll on English Parliament.
    P.S. My password thingy said merely28 – I wish…..

  • In the words of Papa Doc:

    “And we persisted on our course until people supported law and order …”

    The same people that murdered Paul Quinn?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    This was a poor attempt by the UU to sour relations between the DUP and SNP – basic party politicing – but the big fellah saw it coming.

    He’s obviously privately against independence for Scotland and clearly would not want to see the jockstraps ( to use my favorite Ulster Scots phrase) oxtered oot.

  • Greenflag

    ‘So much for Celtic solidarity Greenflag ! Why ever not – it’s an Anglocentric, Archaic institution in a constitutional quagmire.’

    Dewi,

    The English make up some 80% of the population and economically most of the UK’s wealth is centred on London and the south which has been the case since the Middle Ages long before there was a UK . Geography , climate and close proximity to the main trading centres of Europe gave Anglia a ‘developmental’ advantage over the rest of the islands ‘nations’ . Roman conquest also united the disparate english regions for long enough for the idea of a peaceful unified state to remain engraved in the English psyche long afer the Romans left .

    While I’m all for ‘Celtic Solidarity’ in so far as it goes I also know that these islands cannot be defended without the English whether within or outside any British Union.

    There are some 6 million people in the UK of first , second and generation Irish extraction the vast majority from the Irish ‘nationalist’ tradition. In the Irish Republic we have an estimated 150,000 ‘new ‘ British immigrants mostly English. So whatever ‘political arrangements ‘ are eventually made we all need to make cultural accomodations wherever it’s possible.

    It’s interesting that at this time of the five First or Prime Ministers in Britain and Ireland
    two are Scots , two are Irish and one is Welsh.

    In the context of a global economy ‘anglocentrism’ should no longer be seen as a ‘threat’ but as part of a worldwide development . English has become the major lingua franca soon to be followed no doubt by Chinese .

    I’ve no love for monarchy -any monarchy as I regard the institution as outdated and inherently prone to degeneracy and corruption. I prefer a written constitution and a Bill of Rights to protect the citizens . Thus my opposition to any British Union with a Queen/King as Head of State.

    As for an English Republic ?- well now that’s a matter for the Engllish people themselves

  • BonarLaw

    Dewi

    anglocentric in basing the Assembly in the least “Welsh” part of the principality, stuffing it with failed MPs and it acting as a county council to the proper government up the M4.

    archaic in being just another font of labour patronage.

  • Dewi

    You make my point Greenflag – 80% English – I have no great hatred for them but u just get overwhelmed you know. Run our own country and let them get on with running theirs. (week91)

  • Dewi

    “anglocentric in basing the Assembly in the least “Welsh” part of the principality, stuffing it with failed MPs and it acting as a county council to the proper government up the M4. ”

    Funny – cos I would have agreed with the “proper” bit a while ago – but it’s evolving into a real Parliament with popular support. Only failed MPs Labour – Plaid boys came home. (rest 97 – what the eff is that about ?)

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner FYI

    76.8 increase in Welsh speakers between 1991 and 2001 – in Cardiff Council area.

    The Council is a unitary local authority serving a resident population of around 315,100. The latest census statistics available indicate that 16.3% of the population of Cardiff have one or more skills in the Welsh Language (ability to read, write or/and understand Welsh). 32,000 or 10.9% of the County’s population are fluent Welsh speakers. ”

    Nos Da

  • BonarLaw

    Dewi

    putting your house on the outcome of the law making powers referendum are you?

    Isn’t the FM one of those failed MPs? Due to his home making skills falling short when the Blairs visited?

  • Nevin

    The OFMDFM website looks very bare at the moment. Work in progress?

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy McNally

    Your point?

  • dewi

    Reading greenflag again – saxons arrived after the Romans. Rhodri not a great MP but he’s a good laugh as FM – best thing is that leaders of all parties in Assembly support yes vote in referendum. Only the Wlabiban in Westminster against.

  • Oiliféar

    GreenFlag:

    “The English make up some 80% of the population and economically most of the UK’s wealth is centred on London and the south which has been the case since the Middle Ages long before there was a UK.”

    Not so at all. The difference in populations densities is very recent and at every step is related to countries coming into union with England. First Scotland, where-after it’s population stagnates, then Ireland, where-after it’s population plummets. As for wealth being concentrated in London, again the great difference in wealth is relatively recently and again related to coming into union – one way or another – with England.

    “Roman conquest also united the disparate english regions for long enough for the idea of a peaceful unified state to remain engraved in the English psyche long afer the Romans left.”

    Remember, the Romans conquered Wales as well, Greenflag, and that Scotland was united into a single kingdom before England. The Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy? 1066 was responsible for the development of the strong centralised England that the Romans.

    “While I’m all for ‘Celtic Solidarity’ in so far as it goes I also know that these islands cannot be defended without the English whether within or outside any British Union.”

    That’s what the French, Germans, Italians, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Belgians, Swedish and 17 other states are for, Green. Step out of your West Brit dependency psychosis. Welcome to the 21st century, step into you Euro-dependency psychosis.

    “It’s interesting that at this time of the five First or Prime Ministers in Britain and Ireland two are Scots , two are Irish and one is Welsh.”

    Playing with numbers here, GreenFlag. Would it not have been less disingenuous just to say that England has no parliament and that the current prime minister of the UK is a Scot?

    “In the context of a global economy ‘anglocentrism’ should no longer be seen as a ‘threat’ but as part of a worldwide development. English has become the major lingua franca soon to be followed no doubt by Chinese.”

    English – or ‘American’ to give it it’s proper name – has become the global lingua franca. Not the first lingua franca and not the last. Certainly it differs from older ones in being actually global, but that is just the world we live in. For now it’s good to be a native speaker of it and just as before – be it French, Russian, Greek, Latin, or any other – a lingua franca is no treat to local, national or regional, languages. They occupy different spaces to each other.

    English was not a threat to Irish because it was a lingua franca, if that is what you are referring to. English was not the European lingua franca at the time of the decline of Irish, that would have been French. English survived French (both post-1066 in England when it was the language of the court and from the 17th century through to the start of the 20th century when it was the lingua franca of Europe). Irish, as we know, barely survived English. The difference is not between English and French, but between the English and the French, and specifically the attitudes they held and bred towards Irish and English respectively. One tried to obliterate another language. The other did not.

    Like I said before, step out of your West Brit dependency. English is no threat. It is merely a lingua franca and not comparably better or worse than Irish. They occupy difference spaces. It may just be a matter of feeling comfortable in your own skin.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner,

    I was drawing your attention to the increasing Welshification of Cardiff.

  • willowfield

    Should that not be “Cambrification”?

  • Dewi

    Just back to the Romans. There was no England in Roman times – Romans conquered the Brythonic (Welsh) bits of Britain. It was post Romans leaving that Angles and Saxons were invited to share our hallowed shores. Present boundaries were determined after many centuries of war.

  • Oiliféar

    “It was post Romans leaving that Angles and Saxons were invited to share our hallowed shores.” – According to Bede (see Chapter XV) this was due to us (Irish, aka Scots, and Scots, aka Picts) harassing you that you were driven to call on their help. They came to your assistance alright, but seeing the “cowardice of the Britons” decided to stay, joining us in harassing you, after a brief period of blackmail.

    Really, don’t blame yourself. We drew this one on ourselves. Sorry.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dewi, setting off on the Welsh\Roman tangent

    Having only recentlty visited Caerwent I have to say Wales seems to somewhat underplays it Roman hertitage. Although I had been to Caeleon a few times I found Caerwent even more impressive.
    Throw in the Welsh (Roman) flag and the ye olde worlde Welsh Tourist board should be making more of this

  • Greenflag

    ‘I have no great hatred for them but u just get overwhelmed ‘

    Our experiences are different . Mostly I get underwhelmed . Having no great hatred suggests that you may suffer the pangs of a ‘small’ hatred?

    Not a good thing to hate period and especially not on the basis of nationality , religion, or ethnicity . We are all human beings before we were ever ‘nations’.

    ‘Run our own country and let them get on with running theirs.’

    In the real world an admirable aspiration which seems to exist in political theory but is and has been frequently ignored in practice – for multifarious reasons .

    If it were not so Russians would never have tried to rule Poland and Germans would not have tried to conquer all Europe and the USA would not today be in Iraq . Neither would the French have bothered with the Vietnamese nor would England have ever ‘fallen’ to the Norman French etc etc etc etc etc etc etc. By the way if none of the above had ever happened there would have been no colonialism . The Aztecs would presumably have continued to sacrifice 20,000 virgins annually to the Sun God and the population of Europe would be about 10 billion by now 🙁

  • Dewi

    “cowardice of the Britons”

    It is interesting how relatively easily Saxons spread West initially. Our great Historian John Davies has a theory about the Saxons bringing plague and Britons not resistant cf White Man in N. America. Extremely interesting the lack of folk remembrance of Brythonic kingdoms in East England – and also the remarkable absence of word borrowing to English from Welsh – suggests an astonishing lack of peaceful contacts over the centuries.

    Arthur stopped them mind – as he constantly reminds me when I wake him up for the Rugby.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The difference in populations densities is very recent ‘

    Define recent?

    ‘First Scotland, where-after it’s population stagnates, then Ireland, where-after it’s population plummets.’

    My history books tell me that the population of Ireland after the Second Conquest (circa 1690-1700) was approx 2 million . By 1840 under British rule this had increased to 8.5 million thanks mainly due to the replacement of oats/barley as the main staple by the potato. The First Conquest 1169-1560 had been driven back to a small area around Dublin . BTW I’m not denying the overall ‘negative’ effects of the Second conquest over most of Ireland . I cannot speak for the Scottish or Welsh experience although I’m aware that there are more Norman castles in Wales than anywhere else in the UK presumably they were needed .

    As for 1066 was that not a Norman victory ?. And they spoke Norman French – The English suffered under the Normans for several centuries. Of the 4,000 Anglo Saxon chiefs who held land in 1066 most were killed and eventually according to the Domesday record only 40 got to keep their lands mainly some moorland or fen country .

    ‘a lingua franca is no threat to local, national or regional, languages.’

    Did I say it was ?

    ‘ They occupy different spaces to each other.’

    More correct of past history than in the present world .

    ‘Like I said before, step out of your West Brit dependency.’

    When all else fails eh the final resort of the blog thug the inevitable ‘west brit’ insult . In terms of ‘dependency’ the economies of Wales (55%), Scotland (50%), and Northern Ireland (70%) are all very dependent on the public sector and ultimately on the English taxpayer .

    It should be an interesting economic and political phenomenon as Wales, Scotland and NI step away from their dependency on the english taxpayer . If as you suggest I need to take one step back then presumably you will be up to taking several thousand steps back . For that’s what it will take .

    ‘It may just be a matter of feeling comfortable in your own skin.’

    As a North Dubliner I feel very comfortable in my own skin. Shure did’nt we provide the Republic with it’s three best Taoiseachs (Prime Ministers) since the States foundation – Sean Lemass , CJ Haughey and Bertie Ahern 🙂

    Oh we’re the Dubs the rub a dub Dubs
    Sometimes called Jackeens
    We’re Prod and Jew and Papist too
    We’re Orange , White and Green!
    Not King nor Pope despair nor hope
    Can make us bend the knee
    From Liffeyside we draw our pride
    Of norseman pedigree

    Oh we’re the Dubs the rub a dub Dubs
    And we’re a breed apart ,
    Don’t give two shits for Gaels or Brits
    No malice in our heart
    So come what may on Judgement Day
    The saints will sing our praises
    No other place can boast a race
    On first name terms with Jaysus !

  • Dewi

    “In terms of ‘dependency’ the economies of Wales (55%), Scotland (50%), and Northern Ireland (70%) are all very dependent on the public sector and ultimately on the English taxpayer.”

    a) I pay taxes.
    b) Never underestimate the drawing powers of a real capital city for Company HQs etc.
    c) Defence spend South Eastern based.
    d) Infrstructure improvement- CTRL, CrossRail, Olympics etc etc centred on London.

    And anyway Ireland seems to have done OK from worse beginnings than Wales or Scotland.

  • Greenflag

    ‘It is interesting how relatively easily Saxons spread West initially. Our great Historian John Davies has a theory about the Saxons bringing plague and Britons not resistant cf White Man in N. America.’

    Blame it on four centuries of Pax Romana . After several centuries of peace the romanised Britons had become fat and happy . When their ‘defenders’ packed up and headed for the Dover boats they were an easy target for the land hungry Anglo Saxons who were themselves coming under pressure from further east in Europe . It’s interesting that the average Briton did not return to the living standards of Roman Britain until well into the 17th century .

    ‘ Extremely interesting the lack of folk remembrance of Brythonic kingdoms in East England – and also the remarkable absence of word borrowing to English from Welsh – suggests an astonishing lack of peaceful contacts over the centuries. ‘

    Suggests but the DNA men tell us that most of the population of England can trace it’s origin to pre celtic and pre anglo saxon times . And the same is true of Wales , Ireland and Scotland .
    It seems that while there is truth to many of the heroic myths of the history of the isles it seems that simple clear cut division of a Britain into an Anglo Saxon England and everthing else being Celtic is just that i.e simply wrong .

  • Greenflag

    a) I pay taxes.

    You’ll pay more in an independent Scotland , Wales or NI assuming you want to maintain the same standards of public services

    b) Never underestimate the drawing powers of a real capital city for Company HQs etc.

    I don’t . Dublin was the second city of the Empire in 1799 . Dublin had it’s own nascent Patriot’s Parliament . Following the 1800 Union -Dublin went into decline from which it only emerged in the 1950’s .

    c) Defence spend South Eastern based.

    I’ll take your word for it

    d) Infrstructure improvement- CTRL, CrossRail, Olympics etc etc centred on London.

    Same as France then ?

    All States have problems with this tendency . We in ROI are no different as we can see from the growth of Dublin.

  • dewi

    Would like a link to those DNA men. My reading (will try and link when home) suggests still distinct genetic differences despite mass.population mixture recently.(Just look at our blasted Rugby team)

    GF – no difference from France or from an Independent Wales I suggest.

  • Greenflag

    I’d recommend reading Brian Syke’s ‘Saxons, Vikings and Celts . Another good read is the National Geographic ‘ Deep Ancestry Genographic by Spencer Wells which looks at the entire world and the connections between peoples across continents- also ‘Before the Dawn’ by Nicholas Wade .

    Go on line and google and you’ll find several years research if you are interested.

    Brian Sykes ‘conclusion’ from his studies of DNA throughout Britain and Ireland states that on the matrilineal side about 90% of the population of these islands is descended from a mix of the ancient Celtic/ pre Celtic and Mesolithic populations that inhabited these islands 6,000 years ago . On the matrilineal side only in the Orkneys and Shetland is the percentage significantly lower with 60% of Shetlanders and 70% of Orcadians sharing the same matrilineal DNA descent as the rest of the British Isles . The remaining numbers on both islands show strong Norwegian affinities .

    But what aout the patrilineal DNA ? Here Sykes states that the strongest signal is Celtic (or pre Celtic in the form of what he terms Clan Oisin . Sykes states that the Clan of Oisin predominates in every part England but the bedrock is substantially overlaid in the East of England . Sykes estimates that approx 10% of men living in the south of England are the patrilineal descendants of Saxons or Danes while above the Danelaw line the proportion increases to 15% overall reaching 20% in East Anglia . From Syke’s evidence the succession of Saxon/Danish invasions during the turbulent post Roman centuries did leave a mark on the stubbornly Celtic(Pre celtic) indigenous bedrock of parts of England . Sykes concludes by saying (pg 286) that there are far more people with Celtic ancestry in England even in the far east of England than can claim to be of Saxon or Danish descent !

    Thus however we may feel about ourselves and about each other we are all genetically rooted in a Celtic (Pre celtic) past . The Irish, Welsh and Scots know this but the English sometimes think otherwise

    Heres one link http://www.bloodoftheisles.net

    The above may be of interest . On the other hand the above ‘genetic truth’ has been overlaid by hundreds of years of political, economic and religious history which has resulted in the present political dispensation .

    We are all ‘cousins’ however I suggest that the regional disparities in economic development have been the most important in the advance of local ‘nationalisms’ for the next several decades than any common ‘genetic’ history 🙂

    So how did the English language take over then ? Presumably because it was the language of trade with the east – i.e europe . English with it’s simple non inflected speech and grammar became a lingua franca between the west of England and the Danelaw. Add in the sophisticate terminology supplied by the Norman French and this mishmash absorbative language grew an enormous vocabulary and even today is still absorbing words from all over the world. To put it another way speaking basic English requires knowledge of some 600 words . Basic German requires 2,000 and basic French 1,500 IIRC. Basic Irish would probably be in the 2,000 plus area as would Scots Gaelic and Welsh all being ‘inflected ‘ languages .

    BTW the Welsh have had the most success in preserving their linguistic heritage . We Irish don’t come close nor do the Scots . On the other hand we lead in ‘political’ and economic matters at least from a comparative perspective – for now anyway ?

  • dewi

    So why are we smaller than them?

  • Greenflag

    So why are we smaller than them?

    Who is we and who is them? And what do you mean by smaller – Geographic size , size of population ? economy ? .

  • dewi

    Smaller like five foot six against five foot eight! I must get home to confirm that sweeping statement. Thanks for the Dna stuff – fascinating.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Smaller like five foot six against five foot eight! ‘

    LOL not the Napoleon syndrome again . If this is your argument for Welsh or Scottish independence then all I can say is grow UP (joke) 🙂

    Average height in diverse populations is predominantly related to overall living conditions ,education , nutrition – pre natal care – eating the right vegetables and fruit – pregnant mothers not smoking or stuffing their faces with junk food is also a factor.

    There are a couple of ethnic groups around the world who are apparently ‘genetically’ programmed for low average height e.g the pygmies of Central Africa and the San (Bushmen0 of the Kalahari) . Everyone else can reach

    In the 19th century and probably as late as the 1960’s anyone born to a working class -poorly educated family in any of Britain’s major cities had a greater probability of being ‘short’. The advances made in preventative health care since the 1950’s as well as stricter environmental protection and better nutrition helped to increase average height – The latter measure is one of the best markers as an indicator of how a society treats/cares for it’s children .

    The Dutch are apparently the tallest people in Europe with an average of six feet . Back in the 1950’s they averaged 5’7″ . Americans averaged 5’9″ at the same time . Today Americans on average are shorter than the Dutch for reasons mainly due to the fact that all Dutch children get the best pre natal care in the world whereas in the USA millions of American children in particular what are called the ‘working poor’ and the uninsured get sub standard health care and poor pre natal care. Why Americans tolerate this is something I fail to under?

    Just google average height for europeans and americans and you can fill your head with scientific facts instead of sweeping generalisations 🙂

  • dewi

    But what about the Japanese?

  • Eire

    This genetic link nonsense with England is well overplayed; by the same logic we also should consider ourselves Belgae and Gauls.

  • Greenflag

    ‘But what about the Japanese? ‘

    What about the Japanese ? The traditional stereotype of the Japanese i.e the buck toothed -bespectacled 5 foot 2 inch Jap of comicut fame is now largely replaced by a much taller younger population who have benefited from the increase in nutritional standards and health care since the end of WW2.

  • Greenflag

    ‘This genetic link nonsense with England is well overplayed’

    Que ? It’s not nonsense -It’s just scientific fact just as the small regional differences all across Britain and Ireland are fact.

    ‘ by the same logic we also should consider ourselves Belgae and Gauls.’

    Your ‘logic’ is askew . I was not suggesting that the Irish /Scots /Welsh have no ‘genetic’ differences with the English just that they are far fewer than most people recognise. Probably the same claim can be made as regards comparison with most people in western europe. Just look at the distribution of Y chromosone haplogroup R1b which is very widespread over 70% in Spain, France , Britian , Ireland and generally tapers off to a frequency of 50% in central and northern europe.

    We are English or Irish or Scots or Welsh or Catalan not by virtue of any specific ‘genetic’ common heritage but through the evolution/development of the ‘nation’ state idea emanating from the later Middle Ages and the influences of geography , trade , war etc etc between all the various ‘nations ‘ of Europe over the last millenium.

    Now go away and eat some leeks and your ‘brain cell’ will grow bigger 🙂

  • dewi

    So if it ain’t genetics why is our rugby team so shite?

  • Greenflag

    Shite just happens – Anywhere you go be it the England football team -Ireland’s soccer team , McLaren’s or Steve Staunton’s management you’ll find no end of shite . Shite is cyclical -it moves around now afflicting one team and now another now one manager now another . Now Iraq and Congo next who knows ?

    Be reconciled to the fact that to win all the time is to lose for winning is defined by losing .

    Now you are forgiven -Go and shite no more 🙂

    As for your rugby team ?

    Beidh la eile ag an bpaorach 🙂

  • Dewi

    “Beidh la eile ag an bpaorach”

    Is that “Apples will grow again?”

    Strange about the genetic stuff – Japanese totally mad about Rugby – rich, healthy and focussed. We always beat them however because we are bigger. It must be DNA.

  • Greenflag

    “Beidh la eile ag an bpaorach”

    Is that “Apples will grow again?”

    Yes . The literal translation is that the Powers will have another day .Reference being to some family named Power who were defeated and who it is hoped will come back to fight another day and presumably win ( being Irish ) not losing i.e Welsh 🙂

    ‘We always beat them however because we are bigger. It must be DNA. ‘

    Used to beat the Argies and Italians too very easily . Not any more . The Japanese are still growing . Give them another generation or two and the Samurais will no doubt will be wiping welsh arses like the rest of us 🙂

    ‘Strange about the genetic stuff’

    Not at all it’s just numbers and facts . What’s strange is that it conflicts with our national foundation ‘mythologies’ which have been inculcated into us over centuries. Unlearning is always more difficult than learning . Tell any Christian that they are really worshipping the Sun God who has been turned into ‘Jesus’ by a gang of politicos on the make circa 300 AD in Rome and they will not thank you for it .

  • Dewi
  • Dewi
  • PaddyReilly

    Article is based on racial misunderstaning. In Spain, the Basques are known as the fairest of Spaniards. It’s them down South that are the dark ones.

  • Dewi
  • Dewi
  • Dewi