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11


            ENGLISH PASTORAL


            SESSION TWO - THE DAWN OF THE OFFSHORE ISLANDERS

            DOGGERLAND

            Introduction
            I like the phrase offshore islanders. I stole it from a book I read in 1972, called The
            Offshore Islanders: England’s People from Roman Occupation to European Entry,

            written by a prolific and slightly maverick journalist and journalist, Paul Johnson.
            1972 was the year we joined what became the European Union. Johnson tries to
            draw historical parallels between the EU, the Roman Empire, the medieval Catholic
            Church and the later Protestant Reformation,  not always convincingly. But the title
            stuck with me. It side-steps the problem of what to call us. The trouble is, this keeps
            changing. Britain/Britons are the names devised by the ancient Greeks; the Romans
            adopted Britannia though at first they preferred Albion (probably from the white

            cliffs). England/English are early medieval. Great Britain came in when the English
            and Scottish crowns united under James Stuart in 1603. United Kingdom came with
            the union with Ireland in 1801. “Brits” is more recent still.

            “Offshore islands/islanders” has several advantages. It suits the geographical
            perspective which I to want to adopt. It avoids the associations of any particular
            period of history. It also avoids any political or cultural sensitivities of identity* (not
            all Britons are English). Thus, our first session is about how we actually became an

            offshore island. It was all to do with a big wave.

            *Historians are replacing Viking with the lower-case viking. Also, they are phasing out
            Anglo-Saxon, preferring “Angles and Saxons” or “early medieval English”. The main
            reason is that both are historical anachronisms; nobody at the time called anyone a
            Viking or an Anglo-Saxon.  Indeed, viking was an activity, not a people. Anglo-Saxon
                                                                    th
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            was sometimes used in the later 19  and early 20  centuries by imperialists to
            denote white supremacy, then from 2015 this was aggressively revived by extremist
            elements in Britain and America in their tiresome culture wars for racial superiority
            and exclusion.

            Doggerland
            Humans have populated Europe for around 900,000 years. Our part of the continent
            was attached by a wide peninsular to modern-day Belgium, the Netherlands and
            southern Scandinavia Around 8,000 years ago, as the last great Ice Age ended, sea

            levels, like now, were gradually rising. The North sea expanded. Then around 6000 BC
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