A declaration of nationality is a profound statement. To say ‘I am British’ suggests that somehow I am composed of Britishness — that my fabric, my very being, is British.
Except I personally, apparently, am not particularly British. The results are back from my DNA ethnicity test, and I am 63 per cent Irish, 20 per cent Western European, 11 per cent Scandinavian and 3 per cent Iberian. How do I feel about my nationality now?
Half a test-tube of saliva was all it took for Ancestry, the genealogical organisation, to come up with these figures and, once you get results like this, the immediate reaction is to say: ‘Well it doesn’t make any difference. I am British, born in England, of parents also born in England, and that’s that.