Normally I enjoy the articles by Red Card Roberts but I think her latest piece on Brexit was an aberration. Her theme seemed to be critical of the exit vote and suggested a strong anti immigrant bias by the Brits. A little clarification seems in order.
The UK has always been open to immigration. For many years anyone from the Commonwealth (which still lists 2.1 billion people in 53 countries) was able to immigrate freely. Millions of people from the Caribbean took advantage of this in the 50’s and 60’s. Most spoke English and even though they had darker skins were readily accepted – -just as millions of Brits were welcomed in countries like Australia, Canada and South Africa.
Over the last 30 or so years many Indians and Pakistanis also immigrated. Most of the Indians spoke English and dressed like Brits, many of the Pakistanis did not. Today there are approximately 5 million people of Pakistani descent in a country of roughly 60 million. Most are Muslims. Moreover, they tend to cluster with the result that in some towns they are now either in the majority or close to it. I read recently that almost 30 percent of Londoners are now of Pakistani descent. Incidentally, there are now more than 150,000 Russians in London and 350,000 French. In total there are approximately 3 million immigrants from the EU.
So, clearly, Britain has never been anti immigrant. My impression is that many of the older generation have just said “enough is enough” with the changes immigration has brought.
A few years ago Pakistani immigrants were elected to a majority on the city council of one of the larger Yorkshire cities and quickly moved to impose Sharia law — which was subsequently quashed by the central government.
A couple of years ago I visited the Lancashire city of Preston where I grew up before immigrating to the USA some 50 years ago. Preston is famous as a cotton town where “The Spinning Jenny” was invented which initiated the industrial revolution. For old times sake, my niece arranged for me to have a tour of my old (all white, all boy) grammar school.
Physically, it had hardly changed. But the entire student body and much of the staff appeared by their attire to be of Pakistani descent. They were extremely polite and hospitable but, nevertheless, it was a shock. I read recently that there are areas of the town where the police have to get permission from the local Imam before entering.
I don’t know if that is true, but either way it makes the resistance to unfettered immigration understandable and not simply racist as the article by Ms. Roberts implied. Add that to the fact that the European Parliament is appointed and not elected and Brexit becomes more understandable — especially in Utah where our government seems to be perpetually at loggerheads with the elected government in Washington even after 120 years of Statehood!
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