In the early fifties it was easy to be enlightened about immigration — easy both for the progressive middle class, who have always judged immigration policy with the objectivity that comes from rarely seeing a black face and never living next to a black neighbour, and for the industrial workers of Bradford and Birmingham into whose streets the West Indians and Pakistanis came during the second half of the decade. For until 1955 immigration was barely an issue. Immigrants already here exerted little or no pressure on scarce hospital beds and scarcer municipal housing. The magnet of British prosperity had not begun to pull in Karachi and Kingston. The few Commonwealth citizens who had already landed were either accepted or tolerated. The politicians could afford to stand on principle.
KeywordsWhite Paper Illegal Immigrant Race Relation Labour Party Commonwealth Government
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