Racial Prejudice in the UK: A Crossroads for Political Parties

Backbencher June 4, 2014 3
Racial Prejudice in the UK: A Crossroads for Political Parties

Studies within Britain have shown that racial prejudice has risen since the start of the millennium. This study coincides with the current rise of UKIP and the tough immigration stance they hope to employ. Their success in the recent European elections has shown that British citizens may have become disillusioned with the current mainstream party’s stance on immigration.

Data released by the British Social Action Survey has shown that since 2002 the percentage of UK people who view themselves as being racial prejudice to people of other races has steadily risen, albeit the percentage did decrease in 2012 during the London Olympics.

This presents a negative picture of modern Britain, even though many would have you believe Britain is an all-inclusive multi-cultural society. The UK seems to have become a country where anti-immigrant feeling has risen and may continue to rise over the coming years. UKIP’s recent success in the European elections merely backs up the fact that British citizens may be ill at ease with the amount of immigrants flooding their great country. UKIP’s rise has essentially sent shockwaves through the political establishment and their tough anti-immigration stance now puts pressure on the main political parties for the upcoming general elections in a year’s time.

The election in a year’s time will make for interesting viewing. These reports regarding the rising racial prejudice and the success of UKIP highlight severe problems embedded within segments of British society. However, how far to do the main political parties actually go in order to win back voters? Firstly, they are faced with the problem of racial prejudice embedded within society, which has seemingly risen more or less for the best part of a decade or more. Secondly, they are faced with the problem of losing more voters if they do not implement a stronger stance regarding immigration.

Parties of the political establishment have essentially arrived at a crossroads.

Surely to take as tough a stance as Farage and others would be suicidal. Essentially, along with strict border control, UKIP propose to make sure immigrants can financially support themselves and their dependents for 5 years. Basically, they believe that immigrants should pay into the system before they take out of it. This an issue which resonates with a lot of British citizens, the fact that immigrants are seen to ‘bleed the system’ and are viewed as ‘benefit scroungers’; all stereotypical views embedded in British culture.

This dilemma will not simply disappear; it has been argued that this is just a reaction to the financial crisis of recent years. However, I would be wary of such an outlook. This problem has existed for over 30 years, there seems on the most part to be a lack of integration within many communities throughout the country. Great Britain is now a country which is ill at ease with itself. The question, though, is how far does the problem actually go? Is there full-on racial hostility across the country or is there only racial prejudice within certain parts of the country?

Whatever the answer, something has to be done; in our contemporary society we should be fully integrated. A strong Great Britain is one of equality and diversity, no matter what race, religion, class, nationality or gender, we should be able to tolerate all people. Whilst I would argue that we should be wary of illegal immigrants, political parties should not follow UKIP’s extremist stance regarding immigration. These next 11 months will be interesting viewing. As I alluded to before, these mainstream political parties have reached a crossroads, so it will be of great interest to all of us what answers they produce and how they plan to solve the racial prejudice that plagues our great nation.

Craig Thomson

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