Posts Tagged ‘Central Library’

Post-Referendum Anti-Racism Rally Yesterday in Bristol

June 29, 2016

Points West, the local news programme for the Bristol area yesterday, reported on two large rallies being held on College Green in Bristol, in front of the Council House, Bristol Cathedral and the City library. One of these was an anti-racism rally, intended to show that, whatever people voted in the Referendum, people of all races and nationalities were still welcome in Bristol. It’s desperately needed, as nationally there has been a disturbing rise in racist incidents. The I newspaper the other day reported that someone with a laminator in Huntingdon had been putting cards on people’s cars and through their letter boxes calling on the Polish ‘vermin’ and ‘scum’ to get out of Britain. As well as eastern Europeans, Black and Asian Brits have also been attacked and insulted. One British Asian was told by a cabbie that he had voted ‘Leave’ ‘to get you lot out’. Mike over at Vox Political the other day posted an article reporting the long string of foul racist abuse that had been posted online. And in Newcastle there was a standoff with the English Defence League, which I know upset several of my readers, who come from that area.

The organisers of the demo in Bristol made it clear that it wasn’t just for people who voted to Remain, but for everyone, who wanted to show that foreigners were still welcome in this multicultural port city. It seemed to have been a colourful demo, with an optimistic, positive message following the deep division that have been caused by the Referendum itself. Unfortunately, according to the local news, the only people who attended were those who voted ‘Remain’. Points West is the Beeb’s local news programme for Bristol, and so I have my doubts about its impartiality. If anybody reading this voted to Leave, but did attend the demo in Bristol, or has done so or is going to do so elsewhere, please post a comment letting us know. However we may differ on Britain’s membership of the EU, it’s important not to let the racists, Nazis and Islamophobes win.

Vote Leave Scaremongering, Bristol and Albanians and Romanian Immigrants

June 10, 2016

I’m still a bit annoyed about the Vote Leave’s scaremongering last night about Turks, Albanians and Romanians all threatening to abandon their homelands and march across Europe to get into Britain. Frankly, it ain’t going to happen. Apart from the fact that Turkey, for example, isn’t expected to reach the criteria for EU membership for another 30 years, the number of Turks, who actually have passports is only 8 million. Yet if you believe Vote Leave’s bilge and UKIP, all 75 million of that ancient and historic country’s people are going to leave Anatolia, just to come to Britain. Furthermore, despite the freedom of movement written into the European constitution, there are still some border checks in the Schengen area. So remaining in Europe doesn’t mean that millions of foreigners will sudden be heading over the Channel anytime soon.

As for the particular threat from Albanians and Macedonians, I think this is going to be very overblown too. Bristol’s a very diverse city in terms of the various ethnic minorities, who’ve settled here. Apart from Blacks and Asians, there were also Poles and other peoples from eastern Europe, who arrived here after the War. There are also long-established Italian families, such as Verecchia’s, who are ice cream vendors. Bristol also has an Albanian community. I don’t know how large it is, or indeed anything about it. I only know it exists from looking along the shelves at the Central Library in town, and finding a few books in that language. One of them was on Mother Theresa of Calcutta. The fact that they’re here, but are otherwise unremarkable indicates, I hope, that there’s little in the way of friction between them and other Bristolians. I certainly haven’t noticed outbreaks of mass prejudice against them in my part of Bristol, though that doesn’t mean it necessarily doesn’t exist.

The same goes for Romanians. Remember how UKIP were telling us all that millions of Romanians were threatening to come over, along with a similar number of Bulgarians? In the end, instead of the millions only a few thousand or so arrived. According to an item on the local news a few years ago, Bristol is also the major centre of the Romanian community in the UK. We have so many of them in the city, that the government decided to locate their consulate here. I’m pleased that our city has such links with a part of Europe that was previously closed to westerners. Again, I might be wrong, but I haven’t noticed any particular problems with those that have come here.

So, from the fact that Bristol’s Albanians and Romanians are so un-newsworthy, I think that these people present very little of a problem as immigrants. I’m aware that there are criminal gangs from eastern Europe, and that human trafficking from the former Soviet bloc is a problem. But from my city’s experience, I don’t see immigrants from these nations are likely to cause any problems, and I don’t believe that there’ll be the mass migration with which Vote Leave and UKIP are trying to scare us all.

It is just scaremongering, and should be treated as such.