The year is 1949, Great Britain is still struggling to rebuild following a long and costly
second world war. Costly in terms of economics and money spent, but also costly in the
huge amount of life lost, property lost to the blitz and loss of available workers. There
is a huge shortage of manual labour and the economy needs a boost. This is when the
message was sent out, immigrate to the UK, bring your families and help us rebuild our
It was recognised that the British economy needed a serious boost, The Royal
Commission on Population reported in 1949 that immigrants would be welcomed
‘without reserve’ this included of course immigrants from Europe as well as close to
home as Ireland. But there was something different this time around, for the call was
put out to the former colonies, these immigrants were not only welcomed by the
Government but they were invited.
It was the middle of the 20th Century, and the British Commonwealth had for some
time recognised many, for example, Indians, as “Citizens of the Empire” this however
was soon to change to an invitation for full British Nationality.
‘The British Nationality Act’ of 1948 saw the inception of this inevitable influx of
immigrants. It focused heavily on West Indies and Jamaican immigrants, However it
gave all Commonwealth citizens new rights and citizenship within the United Kingdom
of Great Britain.
This act gave all of the commonwealth free entry into Great Britain. This started on the
22nd of June, 1948 when around 400 workers arrived in Essex from Jamaica. Following
this it is estimated by the Home Office that around 472,000 immigrants arrived between
January 1955 and June 1962 from all across the planet.
Indian, Jamaican, Polish, Middle Eastern etc demographics have helped and continue
to still help shape the very culture of Great Britain and help define it as being Great.
Indeed this can be seen as poetic in a sense, The Great British Empire went out and
colonised 1/3rd of the world, now the very people who they once colonised were
invited to come and settle within the UK and to then become British citizens
From national dishes such as chicken tikka masala to things we’ve believed to always
be British origin, like fish and chips, which were brought over by Polish immigrants in
the very early 20th century, the impact of immigration to our culture has no limit.
Much of the slang used and adopted by the youth of Great Britain is of Jamaican Patois
lingo origin. These early 20th century immigrants are now just British, they have
assimilated in the sense of acceptance.
Today however, things are different, thanks in part to a civil war in Syria that started in
2011/2012 between a tyrannical ruler and armed militia groups has led to a huge mass
movement of peoples in an age of ‘War against Terrorism’ fear mongering, an horrific
civil war in Syria and general instability in the Middle East and many parts of Africa we
see huge number of immigrants fleeing war, seeking a safe haven in Europe, with
many finding themselves lured toward Great Britain.
There looms a general sense of distrust, anxiousness about immigrants. Even the word
itself now has ugly, negative connotations attached to it thanks in large to the right-
wing media and tabloid newspapers more interested in fear mongering and fanning
the flames of ignorance than they are of depicting an accurate reflection of things.
We have seen far-right hate groups such as Britain First stir up anti-immigration rhetoric,
although to be fair this is intertwined with Britain First’s Islamophobia. We have seen
people like the ignorant Katie Hopkins suggest, on an open platform The Sun, and be
allowed to suggest, using gunships to shoot dead any would be immigrants.
The Independent reported on an Oxfam report in 2016 that reveals the UK took in just
18% of its ‘Fair Share’ of immigrants from the fall out of the crisis, in contrast Canada
has taken a whopping 248% of its share. Both countries are ‘1st world’ yet Canada has
no shameful colonisation past, in fact quite the contrary and ironically Canada is in the
The Conservative UK Parliament is continuing to bring shame to Great Britain by not
taking in more immigrants in need of help, the country has forgotten its own past, the
past it carved out. Now that it is inconvenient for us, at least from the perspective of
the Government, the country turns its back on duties it absolutely should be obliged to
fulfil. Many would even argue that it is the UK along with the US and NATO that helped create
such a volatile situation for people to flee from to begin with.
When we needed immigrants, they came, and they helped us rebuild this Great
country and helped define what makes it so Great to begin with, in contemporary
times. However, now they need us, and it is our duty as a 1st world country to welcome
them and offer what help we can, re-prioritise how we spend our GDP.
Instead of spending more money on weapons that ultimately have been found to end
up in the hands of those causing the chaos in the regions immigrants are fleeing from -
let's spend our money to better help these immigrants and remember our own past and
our own hand in why there is an immigration crisis. We need more compassion, and
we need to remember our own history.