The immigration debate but no Black voices


The new population census has once again put the debate about immigration firmly on the political map. Many politicians, newspaper editors, and often salivating columnists jump up to give an often deeply negative view in the issue.

And although the conversation about immigration is often a complex picture, it is usually presented in a very simplistic way, one in which evokes both fear and loathing in equal measure.

Here are a number of the headlines from the last few weeks:

I no longer recognize the Britain I grew up in’; ‘There is a profound anxiety about immigration’; ‘Our country has changed completely’; ‘England their England’; and ‘Mass immigration is hurting the poorest’.

During this simplistic debate that races to the ‘bottom’, includes poliicians such as the Labour Leader Ed Miliband who deemed that the Labour party must fit in with the Daily Mail readership by calling for ‘better English from immigrants’.

East European migration is conflated with asylum seekers fleeing worn torn countries, Those leaving the UK are rarely spoken about, and perhaps significantly London, that continues to be one of the most prosperous and dynamic in the Western world is equally the most diverse in the UK. This fact alone ought to merit serious discussion. With nearly 90% of the UK population still white and an aging, it is still shocking that the extreme right wing view of a cultural, ethnic Armageddon still permeates main stream political thinking.

But above all with the miles of column inches that have been written about on the subject, the greatest gap in this whole conversation are the voices of those being spoken about: us. Written about, spoken about, but rarely listened to. This in itself sadly speaks volumes about the ‘Great immigration debate’.

Simon Woolley