Many Americans were hoping for a positive election result to improve race and community relations. With Trump elected the future seems uncertain but will the result have any effect on how we deal with community relations across Britain? The new era of right wing politics has not just taken effect across America but it has led to a far right uprising across Europe.
It seems as if society has drifted back to the 1930's. Are we next in line to be divided? An expert on community cohesion recently called for more to be done to tackle ethnic segregation across the UK. Based on his first authored report in 2001, Professor Ted Cantle suggests politicians should be doing more to tackle ethnic polarisation of Britain's towns and cities. Is that true? Is Cantle right?
Well London is known to be the multicultural capital city of the world. The diversity of London taps into different cultures, backgrounds and faiths. Yet traditional Londoners feel their time is up as their city is no longer what it used to be. Many working class families have moved out of the capital seeking a better life. In some parts of London integration has failed and opened the door for segregation. The community spirit has failed, there is no one able to address why it has diminished. It seems to have been overlooked by local authorities and think tanks eager to resolve but unable to find a suitable plan. There is wide spread division in some areas, people are scared to interact and simply working to live to avoid slipping into the breadline. Our general working patterns and common routines have also changed dramatically with many people working anti social shifts. Families are unable to bond and spend time together. The cultural aspects of integration are also in doubt. This is what has led us to live in a divided society. If it's not addressed and rectified we could end up in a situation similar to America in less than ten years from now.
The division is greater than anticipated especially in London. Some Londoners think their parts of London are no longer mixed, no longer inclusive of different faiths, backgrounds and dominated by one particular group. Is it changing for better or worse? As one caller mentioned to Vanessa Feltz on her BBC Radio London Breakfast show it's "total domination of one culture, one city" in Redbridge. This was a middle aged Jamaican woman who described herself as a minority. So this discussion is no longer based on Black, White or targeted at a specific ethnic or religious group, it's deeper and entrenched in class, background and why we have failed as a society to communicate with each other. Certain parts of London have become a dumping ground or totally ghettoised yet others have been gentrified offering a new lease of life to the middle class.
This wasn't the norm previously. I grew up in a two bedroom council flat in North West London, I wasn't aware of any divisions in place as my neighbours across the road lived in affluent houses. Everyone got along with each other. This is the cultural mix which made London unique and allowed Londoners to interact with one another regardless of background, race or class. But social gentrification has severed that link. But what Cantle is addressing should not be underestimated, it's a cultural issue which has not been addressed and probably will never be discussed to avoid any confrontation with human rights or politically correct campaigners.
Is that down to neglect, lack of investment or ignoring working class Londoners? That might be the case but the ethos of togetherness and neighbourhood values seems to have been lost and may never be resurrected. Regardless of class or background we should be able to overcome those hurdles without any stigma or victimisation. The days of knocking on your neighbours door for a pint of milk may never happen in this life time. It was a regular custom which is now been disregarded.
So how did we find ourselves in this position? We cannot blame technology or change in trends. Surely it's boils down to morality and treating one another with respect. I feel the community spirit is done and dusted. Our way of life has changed dramatically. Sadiq Khan may be championing for London to be open but is it open just to business or open for everyone and inclusive in every borough? It's not prejudice or racist to question why we have lost our way. It's part of our values to be British and proud. It's the community feel and spirit which has made us welcoming to the world and embraced diversity in every aspect. Britishness in my opinion needs to be reinforced and championed as an annual one day national holiday for communities to come together and embrace diversity by having street parties, afternoon tea or local gatherings. This should be welcomed by all communities. People should be encouraged to integrate and they should not feel isolated or alienated in their own areas. Long term if this is implemented it will help to bridge the gap and bring our communities closer together.
Does London set the example in championing multiculturalism? It always has in fine style but gentrification may have been the cause of sudden change. Londoners may have voted to stay in the EU but there are vast problems beyond Soho. Is it too late for these concerns to be addressed? The problem extends to living conditions, homelessness, people living in dire circumstances; wooden shacks, ghettoised camps which are uninhabitable. This has led to an increase in antisocial behaviour, alcohol abuse and killings which have been noted recently in Tottenhan with local residents living in fear and unable to combat these problems.
If integration is failing in certain parts of London what is life like outside the M25? Cantle suggests "White working class families should be allowed to remain in ethnically diverse areas" in order to reduce the exodus of white people leaving their areas. But have we asked why White working class familes are leaving? Areas such as Newham have seen a sharp increase in working class White families settling elsewhere. What has been done to investigate and examine why this is happening? Nothing!! And it's not just white working classes but other working class communities who have decided to move on as they are unable to live in areas with antisocial behaviour, high crime rates and failure to deal with clamping down on making their areas crime free.
Can the true value of our community spirit be saved and resurrected? What can make our society inclusive? First and foremost ghettoisation must be stopped and by that I mean the removal of ten or twelve fast food chicken shops from local high streets, making our high streets more inclusive. But it's down to wealth as well as our major high streets are now defined by brand and status. If there is not a Pret or Nandos on your high street then it's deemed to be lower class or not the place to be. Is that what modern Britain is all about? This depicts the value and culture of an area. It dosen't bode well or help that particular community or area to flourish. So what's the solution? More investment or programmes to challenge the stereotypes of segregation and more initiatives for locals to know more about faith, religion and background. That's the solution. It's imperative for those programmes to be put in place in order to combat the problem and champion our community and diverse spirit.