The Necessity Of Race Legislation In Britain In The Years 1962 1990

1566 words - 6 pages

The Necessity of Race Legislation in Britain in the Years 1962 - 1990

Britain is a nation of immigrants, which had arrived as early as
prehistoric times. However the most recent influx of immigrants
arrived after the Second World War. These newcomers came mainly from
the Commonwealth with the majority of them coming from the West Indies
and the Indian sub continent. At this time, before the Race
Legislation was introduced all these people had 'right of entry' which
meant they were all free to enter the United Kingdom. This was given
to them in the 1948 British Nationality Act and it was an important
feature of Britain, as it showed the commonwealth was a multiracial
and multicultural institution that all citizens, no matter what their
race, colour or religion could come freely into Britain.

Because of this 'open door' policy in 1948 Britain was becoming a
nation full of immigrants and there were a total of 350,000 non-whites
in Britain at the time of 1961, just before the 1962 Race Legislation
Act was brought into place. From looking at some statistics on the
number of immigrants in Britain over the years 1948-1962 there is a
huge increase from 28,000 in 1948 to 350,000 in total in 1962. This
shows how immigration was starting to become a real issue in Britain.
The reason for the popularity of Britain as a new place to live was
that in fact a large amount of the immigrants had a totally false,
glamorised image of Britain. At school they learned English
literature, they were taught English history and so they had a natural
curiosity to come here. There was such an 'open door' policy that
recruitment campaigns were held in the West Indies advertising free
jobs and employment opportunities over in Britain. These campaigns
were encouraged by the government at this time, as there were huge
labour shortages in Britain due to the Second World War when much of
the population had been killed.

The British government began to think that legislation was necessary
as opinions about the immigrants began to change. A variety of
complaints were made against the newcomers. Some said they were too
lazy to work, and merely lived off the state making no contribution
and placing undue demands on the British health service. Mp Cyril
Osborne said that immigrants were attracted to Britain by the
'honey-pot' of the welfare state. It was said that the immigrants were
far from lazy and were in fact taking all the jobs in the country,
working more hours for less pay and there for cutting wage levels and
depressing the standard of living for all. Legislation was now
necessary as social tensions were running high. This had been seen in
a number of incidents, especially in riots that had taken place during
1958 in Nottingham and Notting Hill, where 'Teddy Boys' went on the
rampage against West Indians...

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