November 23, 2009

How racist is Barking?

East London borough Barking became the centre of a political battle when it was announced that British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin is to stand against Labour MP Margaret Hodge at the next general election.

Voice reporters Janelle Oswald, Jack Wellby and Wendy Tuffour took to the streets of Barking to find out how locals feel about the area, the far-right BNP, and whether Griffin could be successful in the next general election.

Name: *James Shelly
Age: 65
Occupation: Former civil servant
Race/nationality: White English

“I’m originally from Newcastle-upon-Tyne but I have lived in London since I was nine. The main changes of London are that there are too many no-go areas for folks like myself.

“Immigrants move into an area, take over and refuse to mix, and Barking is a prime example. Barking has every single nationality walking on its streets talking different languages, yet nobody understands each other.

“Without a shadow of a doubt I feel like a minority in Barking, yet I am English. I have been living in a block of flats since 1995, yet I have never seen a white person move in. But every other country from the world comes and lives. I’m the only white on the block. I am not able to make friends with anybody because nobody speaks English.

“Another annoying thing about Barking and other neighbouring boroughs are that all the traditional spots such as pubs, bingo halls and private members clubs, including The British Legion, are closing and are being replaced with temples and mosques, which is outrageous. Where are we supposed to go?

“There are many ideas that Nick Griffin has suggested and promoted within his campaign that I agree with. England is no longer England...

“Islam is taking over the UK, which is why we now call Ilford Lane, Banga Lane, and let’s not forget the Africans that continue to come here by the dozens.

“England is not for the white people but for others to come and exploit. The immigrants that move in to our area also bring their criminal mentality. We have never had so many robberies and crime.”

Name: *Sheila Smith
Age: 55
Occupation: Former child minder
Race/nationality: White English

“I hate Barking! It is no longer an area to feel proud of but a haven for all foreigners, especially coloured people, to come and exploit, which is why I will vote for the BNP.

“Don’t get me wrong because I am not racially prejudiced, but I have to vote for those that represent me, and Nick does. When my daughter was pregnant with her fourth child, she was turned down for a larger property because she was not a priority, yet an African woman with no kids was given the premises.

“My son was fined more then £400 for allegedly calling a coloured man a racist name, which he didn’t. He’s not a racist because I have brought him up proper, plus he is used to people of all nationalities because I used to look after coloured children. However, he was taken to court and punished. Where is the justice?

Nick will definitely win in Barking because he represents us – the forgotten white folks. The Conservative and the Labour party are not addressing our needs but everybody else.

Name: Zakir Udiv
Age: 18
Occupation: Student
Race/nationality: British Asian

“I enjoy living in Barking and have never experienced any racism. I will take the election next year seriously as I don’t want the BNP to come into this area. I don’t think they will win as I don’t believe that this is a racist borough.”

Name: Tracey Leacock
Age: 36
Occupation: Retail worker
Race/nationality: African-Caribbean

“Racism has never gone away since I was in school. The BNP have support because of the number of different people in Barking now. In the past it was predominantly English with some ethnic minorities, but now you’ve got everybody here.”

Name: Andrew Whitney
Age: 22
Occupation: Youth worker
Race/nationality: Guyanese

I have lived in Barking for 14 years and have had a lot of good experiences and made many close friends. Barking is not a bad area but there needs to be more support for young people.

“When I was younger I had a lot of problems with racism but now I think it takes on subtler forms because the area is populated with so many different cultures. I have mixed feelings about taking part in the elections, but people should probably vote to prevent the BNP from winning in Barking.

Name: Michael Houdoire
Age: 28
Occupation: Recruitment consultant
Race/nationality: White British

“I have lived in Barking all my life and I don’t like it. All you have to do is look around and you can see the high level of deprived families in the area. White families feel disenfranchised and the council are not doing very much for these people.

“Working-class people are losing their jobs and they feel polarised and want to connect with people. Some see Nick Griffin as a working-class guy who shares their views. I don’t think most people know fully about his beliefs.

“I will be examining all the candidates and I’ll have to decide on election day, but I definitely won’t vote for the BNP.”

Name: Terry Rampling
Age: 22
Occupation: Charity worker
Race/nationality: White British

“My work takes me to lots of different areas of London and I can see no noticeable difference between Barking and other areas. The people seem friendly. I have no idea why Nick Griffin has chosen Barking. Griffin’s views are counterproductive and I don’t align with anything he believes in.”

Name: Dami Soneye
Age: 23
Occupation: Housing officer
Race/nationality: Black Nigerian

“When we first moved into the area 10 years ago it was very racist. We suffered abuse, had tyres slashed, bricks through our windows and I was bullied at school. Over the years things have got better because a lot of ethnic minorities have moved into the area.

“Nick Griffin knows that some white people in Barking want ethnic minorities out. However, I don’t think the BNP will win as there are a lot more black people around now who want to have a voice in Barking. I’ve always voted for Labour after my mum told me to when I was 18!”

* Names have been changed

The Voice


Raymond said...

A century/ decades ago if would have been the Irish then the Jews "taking over the place" "stealing the jobs" especially in East London and it would now its "coloured migrants". The far right was defeated then and it can be defeated again. The mentioned groups are now an accepted part of British life and now classed as indigenous by the BNP when their predecessors would have classed Jews especially as "aliens" and non British

Anonymous said...

"Some see Nick Griffin as a working-class guy who shares their views."

Griffin working class?


BeautifulBurnout said...

Shouldn't this article be entitled "How Barking Are Racists?"