Radio 4 Programme on Monday on the 2001 Race Riots in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford

According to this week’s Radio Times, this Monday’s (17th May 2021) edition of Parallel Lives on Radio 4 is on the race riots which erupted in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham in 2001. The blurb for the programme on page 125 of the magazine runs

Reporter Barnie Choudhury looks back on the 2001 race riots in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford. He hears from people who worked to build bridges in the community, employing mediators from Northern Ireland to conduct meetings between BNP supporters and Asian residents. He also hears how the period may have been an early indicator of dissatisfaction in traditional Labour heartlands – asking the then Home Secretary David Blunkett and Baron Khan of Burnley whether we should engage with politicians deemed beyond the pale or pursue a policy of ‘no platform’.

The programme is on at 8.00 pm.

The Financial Times did an investigation of the cause of the riots by one of their Asian reporters. She spoke to the political candidates from the main parties – Labour, Lib Dem and Conservatives – who were all Asian, and seemed more concerned over the Indian possession of Kashmir than local issues. She considered that it was this neglect that was a major cause of the riots. She also met Asian ladies, who had been warned by Whites not to go down certain roads where racist gangs were waiting. They told her that Whites were also against racism too.

I don’t think it’s unconnected to the riots that in that year, Whites constituted the majority of victims of racist attack, though I wonder if the BBC programme will mention this.

I thought I’d mention this programme as a number of the great commenters on this blog lived in those towns at the time and remember the riots.

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4 Responses to “Radio 4 Programme on Monday on the 2001 Race Riots in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford”

  1. trev Says:

    Thanks for letting us know , I’ll try catch that. Yes, I lived right in the middle of the Bradford riot in Manningham at the time, it was shocking and frightening.

  2. Brian Burden Says:

    Perhaps it’s relevant to consider the career of Andrew Faulds M.P. Faulds, best known as Jet Morgan in the BBC’s Journey Into Space series, stood for Labour in 1966 in Smethwick. In the 1964 election, tory Peter Griffiths won the seat from Labour, campaigning under the slogan, “If you want a nigger neighbour, vote Liberal or Labour”. When Faulds arrived in Smethwick he found a place so racist that even the local Labour Club operated a colour bar. Instead of pandering to local prejudice, Faulds camapigned on an uncompromisingly anti-racist platform, and won. He retained the seat in 1970 against the national swing which brought Edward Heath to power and again in 1972, despite the fact that Enoch Powell, from the neighbouring constituency, held a meeting in Smethwick to denounce Faulds as a “disgrace”. Faulds made no headway in the Labour Party, however, possibly because he spoke up for the Palestinian cause.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Really interesting, Brian. Clearly he was a man of deep principle and prepared to fight for those beliefs. It must tell against Enoch Powell’s repeated statements that he wasn’t personally racist that Powell denounced Fauld’s as a disgrace.

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