NEW COMMONWEALTH IMMIGRATION
Empire = ruled by Monarch
Commonwealth = group of countries that are bound together but have independence through government
- Foreign immigration into Britain had been restricted since 1905.
- 1948, in recognition of the Commonwealth's wartime contribution, British Nationality Act 1948 was passed by Labour Government.
- Gave full British citizenship, including the right of free entry into Britain, to every inhabitant of the Commonwealth.
- High numbers of people from the new commonwealth came to Britain in the 1950s and early 1960s.
- Particularly from the West Indies, India, Africa and Hong Kong.
- Attracted to Britain because of job opportunities, good wages and plenty of work for the unskilled.
- Many hoped to send money home to their families.
- Jobs needed in transport and the NHS, in 1956 London transport took on nearly 4,000 new immigrant employees.
ISSUES OF SETTLEMENT AND NATIONALITY
- Racial controversy was limited in the early 1950s because of the need for cheap labour.
- Newcomers were treated with curiosity, almost as 'novelties'.
- However, as post war boom slackened, prejudice and anxities grew.
- There were worries about the dilution of British culture along with a concern to protect houses and jobs.
- Despite immigrants generally being placed at the bottom of the pay scale and settling for the poorest houses in the least desirable parts of the area.
Discrimation turned aggression
Ken and Chelsea 1958 - violent riots between local whites and black immigrants.
1959 - Kelso Cochrane, a Antiquan carpenter stabbed to death by six white youths.
Ealing 1963 - Southall Residance Association formed in West London (demanded segregated schools and property sales to whites only).
North London 1965 - Survey showed that 1 in 5 objected to working with Blacks or Asians. Half said they would refuse to live next to a black person and 9 out of 10 dissaproved of mixed marriages.
'Rivers of Bloods' speech in 1968 caused a media furore.
Influence of Enoch Powell
- Although it was met with an eunthuasiatic reception in Birmingham the Conservative leader, Edward Heath, sacked him from the Shadow Cabinet the next day - 7/10 disagreed with Heath.
- News of the World in favour of Powell - 74% of poll agreed with him.
- Dockers marched to support Powell when House of Commons were preparing to vote on the 1968 Race Relations Bill - 1st time working class men had supported a Tory.
- Strikes in support in Norwich, Coventry and Gateshead.
- By May 43,000 letters + telegrams of support.
- 1969 = most admired man Britain.
- Partly caused the late 1960s skinhead culture.
- Encouraged but didn't create prejudices - as it came at a time of optimism changing (Black Power movement in the US).
Assimilation involves the acceptance and integration of outsiders into a community
- Although proved difficult in the 1950s and early 1960s, assimilation was becoming easier.
- A new generation grew up speaking English, attending British schools, watching British television and being immersed in British ways of life.
- West Indians, who were English-speaking and shared the predominant Christian religious background of the native British were generally easily assimilated.
- Mixed in with racial issues came with new tensions, intergenerational divides caused problems -youngsters tried to challenge or break free from their parents religious or cultural heritage. Eg. Muslim communities - keeping women and girls inside the house and arranging marriages.
- Cultural differences could keep communities apart eg. Muslims were not seen in British pubs due to their interdict on the consumption of alcohol.
- Indian and Pakistanis, who were often very hard working and whose children frequently became high achievers, were regarded as more alien.
- The immigrant communities were seperate from their white 'neighbours' within cities.