Modern and multicultural Birmingham thrives in a racially challenging world
Jon Bloomfield is back in Birmingham, a city embracing second and third-generation migrants. He talks to confident locals, who are the very antithesis of everything Roger Scruton and Nigel Farage stand for
Few British politicians would now tell a black or Asian person to “go back to where you came from”. Yet influential voices maintain the spirit and ideas of Enoch Powell. The conservative philosopher Roger Scruton and the Spectator commentator Douglas Murray are just two who follow in his footsteps, regurgitating assertions that integration is very difficult and, in the case of Muslims, logically impossible, even for the British-born children of immigrants.
Nigel Farage has been batting on the same track. He never has a good word to say about migrants and recently claimed that many migrants don’t even want to learn English. This diet of negativity – as Boris Johnson would say – contrasts with reality on the ground. Wandering around Birmingham, Britain’s second largest city, it quickly becomes obvious how false the Scruton/Farage picture is: here 44 per cent of the population has a migrant background and first, second and third-generation migrants are part and parcel of city life. They work hard and make it tick.
Jon tells me he has been working at New Street station for 12 years. Black and in his thirties, his mum and dad migrated to the UK from Jamaica in the 1970s. Jon likes his job and living in Birmingham. He is married to a fellow black Briton of Jamaican origin, lives not far from the city centre and has two kids who are doing well at school. “The city feels good and well-integrated.”