Further information about Immigration. immigration before the war mostly coming from Eastern Europe the reasons were often religious. in the 16th century some French protestants migrated to Britain because of Catholic persecution. Irish laborers ,looking for abetter life migrated as well (internal migration however). European jews fleeing from Russia and Poland. Urban areas : a lot of discrimination towards migrants (reminder: they were not all that exotic til after the war). --> complaints about cultural differences, that the immigrants were overcrowding areas and increased the price of rent. Conservatives acted on this issue with the "Alien Act" in 1905: meant to limit to the entry of those that were financially self supportive and also to keep out. The reason for the conservatives to act upon the situation about migrants was to earn votes from the working class (financially more affected ?).
In 1919 --> other Alien Act: after the war, the rules tightened: immigrants needed a work permit before entering the country, deported if they caused trouble and register with the authority. 30s a lot Jews immigrating from Germany because of Nazi regime--> their number increased fast in 9 years (300,000). These immigrants however had been carefully selected according, to political ideas, wealth and skills (reminder of the selection when Germany was divided) they made valuable contribution during the war effort. Even though a lot of jewish immigrants were accepted there was still some anti Jewish feeling, like for any other type of migrants due to the belief that they were overcrowding, causing further unemployment (+ Taking jobs away from local people and poor housing.
This point of view is biased however because the dire economic situation (a lot of unemployment) during the interwar years was mostly due to the Great Depression rather than immigration and though Britain had acts passed, controlling the influx of migrants into their territory a lot of britons emigrated to the US, Canada or Australia (more Britons moved out rather than newcomers moved in).
After the war : full employment and a labour shortage so the Labour gov. recruited "displaced persons" (some lived in displacement camps in Europe) : from the Balkans and East Europe: Poles, Latvians, Estonians etc and also Belgians and Italians --> people who were forced out of their homelands (conflict: Result of WWII). Some were in camps and others had succeeded in coming to Britain and just stayed.
They were very helpful in the process of reconstruction. The Attlee government passed the Nationality act allowing all members of the Commonwealth to enter Britain : A lot of West Indians joined and Jamaicans too. They commonly worked as doctors or nurses for the new NHS (remember chapter on consensus) or as public transport workers. More advertisement for members of the commonwealth like India and Pakistan (workers in textile industries) to come and work in England, since Labour shortage continued in the 50s --> migrants worked in firm and businesses. 30,000 migrants came to England each year on average.
There was a lot of immigration in the 60s, it increased fast and considerably. This was due to rumors that the government was planning on restricting immigration. In the 70s there was much less immigration. 1971: 2 million non whites living in Britain.
2/ 3 came from the Commonwealth and the rest were non whites born in Britain (yet it was a very tiny proportion).
Restriction of immigration : gov:
received w/ hostility , they were blames for shortage of jobs and housing. Issues related to race--> Liverpool + Birmingham protest against blacks. There was concern on the gov.'s behalf that the immigrants were going to take too many jobs and if their was a high rate of unemployment among immigrants this meant a lot of expenses for government so they cut the influx, reduced immigration considerably.
The different acts: Macmillan in 62: Commonwealth Immigrants Act restricting the n° of immigrants tolerated in England, they could enter the country if they had family there already if they had skills that would benefit the nation or evidence that they already had a job to come to--> this act was necessary due to building up tensions between communities yet it w-was heavily criticized by Labour and the Liberal party: it was seen as racist because there was no restriction for immigrants outside of the commonwealth.
Even though Labour was against the Act Wilson tightened the restrictions because thats what the population wanted. some communities were forced to move out in 68 Asians forced out of Kenya had to move to Canada etc... Because Britain was trying to recur the immigration coming from West Africa.
Powell's "rivers of blood" speech, both political parties supported the CI Act passed by Parliament during the Crisis with the Kenyan Asians. Powell go in trouble for this speech --> sacked by then PM, Heath, demonstration in airports supporting Powell.
conservative elections in the 70s helped by the slogan "keep Britain White"
Edward Heath Immigration Act in 1971 passed --> limited entry to people from the commonwealth (supposed to be opposed to it ???). Those who failed to prove they had close relations w/ people in Britain. they couldn't bring people form their own family. The gov. did make exceptions on humanitarian grounds. e.g. When asians expelled from Uganda, 29,000 accepted in Britain despite Powell's opposition --> resigned and left the Party.
Thatcher in 1980 had a Nationality Act: New requirements for British citizenship. Being born not enough, need evidence that family member= British. Today Britain is the strictest country in the EU concerning immigration.
Race Relations: Not comparable to the US in terms of anger and violence (though there was some tension and violence but mostly shortly before and after the war --> anti black riots).
All immigrants had civil rights. There was still racism : some refused to grant them jobs/ houses others refused to serve non-white customers. Whites felt threatened because less and less Jobs and houses : more hostility. Tense Relation w/ the police.
Contrasting interpretations: gov. limited immigration people saw it as a way to protect the population whereas the gov. was trying to prevent discrimination. TU N° 1 complainers about Black taking their jobs.
Black and Asian immigrants triggered a lot of resentment in cities-->streets white and colored workers were sharing. The 1st immigrants who arrived between 1945 and 1960 were well integrated (mostly from Europe not too culturally different) --> non White immigrants were targeted instead.
A lot of violence the Notting Hill (1958) being the most memorable one --> 140 arrests and the government seemed more kind to the non-Whites and promoted racial harmony --> things went from bad to worse leading to important restrictions.
Pro Harmony: Labour Party tried to improve tension problems, Media and population = hostile towards the non-whites. the government knew they couldn't do much about it but they tried to influence attitudes non-the less. Thus acts were introduced: * Race Relations Act 1965 : faire treatment for non-whites. People taken to court if ever proven to be racist (discriminating in public places). It applied to those who refused to serve colored at bars etc.. it did not apply for housing and jobs (strangely the highest level of discrimination in this field). Race Revolution Act 1968 : (community relations commission) keep an eye on mixed areas, cannot discriminate in services. --> no more progress under Heath (the 3rd act came later). Race Relations Act 1976 (Commission for Racial equality replaced the Race Relations Board) encourage better relations between people of different races. Racial hatred was punished by law. The authorities didn't have to apply this act because it could lower their morale
Were these acts effective: Commission : excellent work but slow. Thatcher (set back) development not so good, more difficult for non-whites to find jobs. Very unhappy the minorities had built up resentment--> violent protests. Some minorities (asian) suffered harassment --> insults written on houses, vandalized threatened. Police were not serious about protecting these people. 93 Black Labour MP considered it better for immigrants to return home, it would take generations for things to move on and to reach harmony. However positive aspect: multiculturalism, music traditions, cooking habits brought a lot to sports business success and writing--> Notting hill carnival (Caribbean Identity + largest carnival in Europe
Against non-white immigration : Enoch Powell --> pro limited immigration of non-white people --> their can be no harmony there will be closing between communities (compared it to the fall of the Roman empire with the rivers of blood) --> nothing good could come out from this. He was sacked by Heath eventually.
National Front and BNP: campaigned for a while Britain. They failed to win any seat in Parliament. Yet 93 one member of the BNP elected other politicians dismayed by that.
Conclusion on immigrants:
immigrants before WWI were mostly European and came for either religious/ political or economic reasons, bearing in mind that during the interwar years and even before a lot of Britons migrated elsewhere. Migrants were never fully accepted or well received though they were of valuable help during and after the war. Before hand the conservatives passed an act limiting entry to certain migrants : They were often to blame for overcrowding, increase in rent and unemployment though other factors were responsible too. After the war the Nationality Act has led to more "exotic" migrants, Labour effectively faced the labor shortage by bringing in some displaced people and allowing more immigration.