Race and Immigration in 1970s Britain

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  • Race and Immigration in 1970s Britain
    • Teddy boys, and mainly National Front carried out racist acts
      • National Front was the UK's fourth largest part in mid/late 70s! (in terms of vote share)
        • 20,000 members by 1976
      • NF very active in London areas where many immigrants settled eg Southall
        • 100 incidents and 2 murders 1976-1978
          • Assaults on Afro-Caribbeans and Asians rose by 1/3
      • Attracted some skinheads who called it '****-bashing'
    • 1971- Immigration Act restricted the right of people coming from the New Commonwealth from emigrating to Britain
      • They would need to have at least one grandparent who was born in Britain, and have a guaranteed job
    • Sudden influxes
      • On top of steady arrivals from Indian subcontinent
      • Early 1970s- Amin (dictator of Uganda) expelled Ugandan Asians, who Heath made an exception to the Immigration Act. 28,000 arrived in Britain; many of those affected had UK passports.
      • 1974- Increase in Bangladeshi immigrants after its breakaway from Pakistan
      • By 1974, there were over 1 million immigrants from the New Commonwealth in Britain
    • 1974 London Borough council elections- only 10 non-white councillors
      • 1976- Only 70 out of 22,000 Metropolitan police officers had a BME background
        • Distrust of the police's behaviour towards/treatment of ethnic minorities
    • 1978- Thatcher announced tough Conservative immigration policies
      • "By the end of the century there would be four million people of the New Commonwealth or Pakistan here... that is an awful lot..."
        • Gained party support from those who agreed with the NF; many called Thatcher's speech racist
          • Tories opened up an 11-point lead in the polls
    • Notting Hill Carnival 1976 erupted into riot- over 300 people injured; subsequent calls to ban NH Carnival
    • Pressure groups
      • 1977- Anti-Nazi League set up to combat the rising number of assaults on BME people
        • 1979- Blair Peach killed by a policeman after a demonstration blocked their path; Met Police admitted responsibility in 2010
      • 1976- Rock Against Racism after Eric Clapton made comments supporting Powell
    • Popular culture became more diverse (eg Viv Anderson- first black player to be picked for the England team in 1978)
      • But racist terrace chants; and comedians made racist jokes; many entertainers "blacked up"
  • 1980- Commission for Racial Equality stated that racial prejudice was rife
    • And the Government's response was inadequate


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