Preamble: the structure of the “social space” within which the Borough of Newham is embedded.
Before we present our findings on Newham, it is important to note that the nature of this borough cannot be fully understood unless it is placed within a very specific “social space” that generally structures its human geography. In this preamble, we shall be arguing that this “social space” is characterized by a mosaic of communities within communities, many of which are defined by the phenomenon of what we may term “ethnic [or cultural] clustering”. Since the reality of “ethnic clusters” is not – as we shall see – limited to Newham, one may argue that the morphology of the borough has been overdetermined by the political economy of the UK as a whole [we have attempted to describe aspects of this in papers already presented, especially Papers 2a and 2b].
To begin with, it is absolutely important to note that the so-called Greater London area has come to be characterized by a major division within itself. This has meant the emergence of the “outer city”, on the one hand, and the “inner city”, on the other. In some sense, these two “social spaces” are never to be reconciled. The “inner city”-“outer city” socio-economic rupture has been much discussed by a variety of UK analysts through the years, and is therefore a well-documented phenomenon.
The “inner city” – an area not always clearly demarcated from at least a geographical point of view – has been identified as an “urban fringe” of the Greater London area [cf., for instance, Urban Research & Practice, “Governance and change on the urban fringe”, vol. 5, no. 1, 2012, https://www.tandfonline.com]. This sprawling “social space” constitutes London’s “fringe” in a very specific socio-economic sense – it has further been described as a “periphery” given its function vis-à-vis the economically powerful and relatively autonomous “City” of London [the latter therefore functioning as the “metropolitan center” of UK’s social formation]. Gareth Millington, for instance, has attempted to explore “the emergence of ‘outer-inner cities’ located on the periphery of London” [cf. “The outer-inner city: urbanization, migration and ‘race’ in London and New York”, https://www.tandfonline.com, 22.02.2012]. Of course, the relationship of “outer cities” to the “City” is in no way the same as that of “inner cities” to that “metropolis” – the former more or less “feed” the professional elites of the “City”; the latter likewise “feed”, but they do so with respect to the workforce of UK’s industry].
Now, the reality of such “urban fringe” or “inner city periphery” is closely intertwined with phenomena of racial polarization, racial segregation and the emergence of what we have referred to as “ethnic clusters”. Millington himself draws the conclusion that it is the hostility of race or ethnic relations that most characterizes geographical areas belonging to that “inner city”. As he puts it: “Common [to such areas]… is the racialization of antagonistic community relations” [ibid., my emph.]. It is absolutely impossible to grasp the reality of most of London’s “inner cities” without considering the impact of migration and race, and it is for this very reason that Millington’s work focuses precisely on these issues [note the title to his paper above].
We need dwell a bit further on the implications of Millington’s finding that “social spaces” such as those he discusses are marked by relations of racial or ethnic hostility. His argument may be carefully reformulated [though not at all distorted] as follows:
● “Inner city” areas are composed of “antagonistic communities”;
● the fact that there are “antagonistic relations” between such communities verifies that “inner city” areas are composed of communities within communities, or “clusters” adjoining other “clusters”;
● that there has been a “racialization” of antagonisms verifies that such “clusters” are primarily race- or ethnic-based;
● this automatically raises the role of migration in the formation of such race- or ethnic-based “clusters” within the context of a divided Greater London area, of which Newham is a component part.
Thus, one may draw the general conclusion that the “inner”-“outer” divide is a historical development primarily determined by the presence of non-White or other “settlers” within the UK, as also by the continuing influx of new “settlers” or migrants to the country. This matter has concerned academic research at least since the mid 1970’s – cf., by way of an example, G.C.K. Peach, “Immigrants in the Inner City”, The Geographic Journal, vol. 141, no. 3, November 1975.
The emergence of race- or ethnic-based “cultural clusters” would have further ramifications as regards the morphology of “inner city” areas such as Newham and its complex mosaic of neighbourhoods. Above all, many such “clusters” would come to operate as “ghettoes” or “slums” with very specific socio-cultural characteristics. The concept of “ghettoization”, especially, has often been misunderstood – we do not mean to use such term in whatever derogatory sense. We have elsewhere attempted to show that the social structure of a ghetto is specific unto itself and objectively explainable [cf. “A tentative sociological examination of the ‘political economy’ of the Muslim Ghetto in the Western world of the 21st century”, gslreview.com, 15.02.2018]. Without wishing to reiterate our various findings with respect to Muslim ghettoes – and quite a number of such types of “clusters” are located within the Borough of Newham – we shall here simply state some key characteristics of such neighbourhoods – these include:
● A ghetto may operate as a “local” system vis-à-vis the “global” system of any country’s particular social formation [this would also relate to the concept of “fringe” or “periphery” as noted above].
● Being a “local” system, it may come to operate as a “local ethnic enclave” wherein specific cultural practices prevail.
● To the extent that such cultural practices may assume a relatively autonomous life of their own, the “enclave” may potentially operate as a relatively “closed” system.
● The “closedness” of the “enclave” may further develop into a “closed total system” with its specific and relatively autonomous “inner workings” as a survival economy.
● A ghettoized “cluster” may therefore be said to create its own “sub-cultural order”.
Our understanding of the phenomenon of ghettoes is primarily based on an on-going examination of Muslim ghettoes in particular [op. cit.]. The extent to which our findings therein would also apply to the various “ethnic clusters” within the Borough of Newham remains to be tested [this shall be attempted elsewhere in this series of papers – here, we intend to focus on the impact of such “clusters” on the cockneys of Newham].
Perhaps we should also add here that our specific approach to the ghetto phenomenon is partly corroborated by some of the papers published in W.Z. Goldman and J.W. Trotter [eds.], The Ghetto in Global History – 1500 to the Present, Routledge, 2018. For instance, in their introduction to this work, the editors support that the ghetto in history “was also a form of cultural and institutional empowerment” for its own residents [p. 2]. They further argue that ghettoes may be seen “as a structure shaped from below” [p. 3]. Such an approach is somewhat reminiscent of our own basic position with respect to the ghetto phenomenon in the Western world generally – viz. that ghettoes may be defined by a relative autonomy in their life and workings as a sub-cultural order. Having said that, however, we should also add that whatever reference to the Goldman-Trotter project does not necessarily verify our own findings on the matter, given the overall implausibility of their approach [Goldman and Trotter wish to see some kind of an invisible thread linking all “ghettoes” that have emerged thus far in history as variations of the generic “Nazi ghetto” – something which we need reject as quite ludicrous, it being ahistorical].
The phenomenon of “ethnic clusters” structured around the “outer”-“inner” division of the Greater London area – and the “racialization” of at least some communities to the point where these would come to operate as relatively autonomous social orders “shaped from below” – would gradually crystallize as a prevailing reality by the 1990’s with the advent of the “New Labour” ideological thrust [cf. Paper 2b]. And yet, traces of such reality would be evident even since the 1960’s and the 1970’s. Hasan Suroor, writing for The Hindu in 2010 [cf., again, Paper 2b], notes: “Many of today’s Asian and African ghettoes are a legacy of those years”. He argues that such ghettoes were to take on an exclusive “ethnic” or “cultural” identity precisely as the White British element was deciding to abandon areas receiving an influx of non-Whites. Gradually, one would see the sprouting of “inner city” ghetto-“clusters” [at times approximating the conditions of “slum” areas] from Enfield in north London to Redbridge in east London [the latter is a location neighbouring East Ham – we intend to come back to the case of Redbridge and surrounding localities in discussing slum landlords in later papers].
The Borough of Newham, we have been suggesting, cannot be understood without taking into account the ethnically antagonistic sub-divisions of many of its communities. Usmaan Hussain, a resident of West Ham’s Silvertown district, puts the matter as succinctly as possible – he says: “There are so many communities within a community” [cf. Joe Shute, “The last Whites of the East End”, The Telegraph, 21.05.2016, my emph., and also cf. Paper 2b]. The nature of London’s demographic spread further testifies to such reality – K.S.S. Seshan, writing for The Hindu, observes: “What’s interesting in the demographic spread of London is that immigrant populations are settled in localities based primarily on the country of their origin” [cf. his “Asian locality in London city”, 12.08.2015; updated 29.03.2016, my emph.]. One may also add here a couple of observations made by the apparently authoritative Integration Hub [www.integrationhub.net, text undated]: “… Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and some Black Africans… tend to live in noticeable residential clusters in cities like London or Birmingham” [my emph.]. And further: “… there is more mixing among all ethnic groups but not between minorities considered as a whole and White British” [my emph].
Noticeable ethnic-based residential clusters are evident in places such as Whitechapel, the well-known district located within central and east London. According to official demographic statistics [cf. whitechapel.localstats.co.uk], almost half of Whitechapel residents [48.90%] were born in England – the other half, however, were born elsewhere. Places of origin include Bangladesh [20.10%], India [1.50%], Pakistan [1.10%], Somalia [1.00%], North Africa [1.00%], and a motley of other countries [21.70%]. Also according to official data, Whitechapel’s religious make up is 42.4% Muslim and 18.4% Christian. By the latter part of the 20th century, Whitechapel had become a significant settlement for the Bangladeshi community – it thereby came to particularly cluster on Whitechapel Road and Brick Lane. In fact, the locality of Brick Lane has come to be known as “Banglatown”. This is therefore a typical case where one has a dense cluster of a non-White Bangladeshi community perched within a wider community in that area.
Yet another area characterized by a mosaic of “ethnic enclaves” – and in some ways reminiscent of Newham – is the London Borough of Lambeth, located in south London and also forming part of the “inner city” area. One of the most conspicuous features of this borough is that it contains both rich neighbourhoods and, at the same time, “some of the most socially deprived urban areas in the country” [Financial Times, 28.03.2008] – such economically-based sub-structuring corresponds to specific ethnic-based “clustering”. Localities identified as rich neighbourhoods are clustered around the area of Clapham, where 60.20% of the residents were born in the UK, while the only identifiable group of immigrants comes to 1.60%, these being Jamaicans [cf. clapham-common.localstats.co.uk]. The rest of the residents in or around Clapham originate from Australia, Ireland, Scotland, America, South Africa and Wales. English speakers amount to 87% of the residents, while only 0.40% speak Bengali; 0.30% speak Arabic; and 0.30% speak Somali.
Now, right within that same Borough of Lambeth, one has localities such as Stockwell. This “inner” south London district is composed of a series of “ethnic clusters” many of which belong to those “most socially deprived areas” identified by the Financial Times. It is home to people of Caribbean and West African origins and is well-known for its gang wars and “gang culture” [to be examined in some detail in later papers – but cf., for instance, Evening Standard, 16.07.2018, p. 17]. We know that Stockwell is also home to one of UK’s biggest Portuguese communities – their area of residence has come to be called “Little Portugal”, and thus itself forms a “cultural cluster” of its own. According to a study undertaken on the Portuguese community in Lambeth [entitled: “The Portuguese-speaking community in Lambeth: A Scoping Study”, July 2015], “Language and culture give the [Portuguese] community a distinct identity” [my emph.]. A portion of Stockwell’s Portuguese residents are engaged in mostly unskilled, low-paid work, while many are migrant workers. Some, however, are owners of cafes and bars. It has been observed that the presence of Portuguese shop owners in Stockwell has helped to somehow bolster the formal sector of the district vis-à-vis the predominance of what has been its informal “drug economy”.
The mosaic of “clustering” within the Borough of Lambeth continues further. Bordering both Clapham and Stockwell, one has the district of Brixton, another locality of “inner” south London. A large percentage of this district’s population is of Afro-Caribbean descent [as in Stockwell] – segments of this population are involved in what has come to be known as the “knife crime and gang culture” of the area. It is important to stress here that such practices should not be reduced to mere acts of criminality – they have in fact come to constitute a sub-cultural milieu expressive of a specific style of life in all of its everyday dimensions [to be examined in detail in forthcoming papers; also cf. “Teenage gangs of Brixton: Everyday London crime stories”, https://cafebabel.com, 08.04.2016]. Even since 2003, The Independent had been reporting that around 200 “hardcore Yardies” were based in localities around Brixton. “Yardies”, which are gang networks historically associated with Jamaican immigrants, have had Brixton as their recognized stronghold. At present, the Brixton area is considered to be home to various “gang headquarters” – it is also said to be “the drugs capital of London”. The point here is that Brixton is yet another area encompassing a series of “cultural clusters” that constitute the human geography of the Greater London area.
For our purposes, the conclusion to be drawn is that Newham itself is embedded within such wider “social space” structured around a discreet socio-cultural morphology. The practical implications of this reality need to be briefly thrashed out at this point. The structured “social space” that we have been describing has yielded specific experiential-based grassroots practices. All such practices have sprouted from social experience at the local level. This is important: the phenomena of social segregation and racial polarization – emphasized throughout our papers thus far – could perhaps make little sense if considered from the point of view of the general [or “abstract”] socio-economic formation that constitutes the UK. On the other hand, these may turn out to be the dominant phenomena at the local level – viz. precisely where “ethnic cultures” are nurtured. It is at that particular level that the “everyman” of the UK – whatever be his/her ethnic background – actually experiences what Gareth Millington has identified as “the racialization of antagonistic community relations” [op. cit.]. We need to dwell on this point if we are to achieve some understanding of the state of affairs in a borough such as Newham.
In an article published in The Guardian, Hugh Muir writes: “White Britons are expected to account for 70% of the UK’s population by 2061, with the ethnic minority population 30%” [cf. his article, “Black flight: How England’s suburbs are changing colour”, 08.07.2016]. It is truly difficult to verify the accuracy of such a demographic prediction. And yet, it is that type of statistic that is being used by a variety of analysts to either defend or oppose the further influx of non-White migrants to the UK [or the very presence of ethnic minorities as such in the country]. For the supporters of migration, the prediction may reassure White Britons that they shall maintain their numerical superiority even by 2061. In contrast, opponents would argue that a 30% presence of ethnic groups would render these a highly significant minority, at the very least – and they would be highly significant in both political and social terms. But either way, the point we wish to make is that such abstract predictions are of rather limited value in trying to understand the impact of minorities on an “abstraction” such as the socio-economic formation of the UK as a whole. What we wish to underline is that that abstract figure of 30% would have – proportionally – a major impact at the local, neighbourhood level of “clusters” already existing in a borough such as Newham: the presence of ethnic minorities in the borough is, in any case, already having its particular impact [if we are to keep Millington’s findings in mind].
The existence of “ethnic clusters” – or even the numerical spread of these – may or may not ever acquire the capacity to threaten the so-called bastions of power within the UK State, given the overall demographic factors presently characterizing the country. Further, it is arguable that the overall population of the UK may not ever be affected by such “ethnic clusters” – in any case, and at a certain level of analysis, the notion of “population” may be taken to be an “abstraction” [Michel Foucault, amongst others, had suggested that the concept of “population” is an “artefactual abstraction”].
On the other hand, the existence of “ethnic clusters” can and does have a direct effect at a local level. There, in other words, where the tangible interface between ethnic groupings is materialized on a daily basis. Such materialization naturally involves a variety of dimensions – these would, for instance, include the following:
● In the neighbourhood – we have already discussed, in all papers thus far presented – how neighbourhoods may be segregated from one another, even to the point of different ethnic groups leading “parallel” lives with respect to other groups.
● In the field of schooling – we have examined the phenomenon of segregationist tendencies within the UK classroom [Paper 2b].
● In the labour market – the phenomenon of competition over job posts, the role of migrant ultra-cheap labour and the depression of wage-levels, etc., have all been widely discussed from a variety of different perspectives [the bibliography is near-endless – but cf., for instance, Alan Bogg and Tonia Novitz, Voices at Work: Continuity and Change in the Common Law World, Oxford University Press, 2014]. We know that the relative demise of Britain’s White working class may be explained in terms of the competition it would come to face on the shop floor with the influx of migrant labour belonging to different ethnic groups.
The suggestion that the phenomenon of segregation and related antagonisms between communities primarily manifests itself at the local, interfacial level, has been corroborated by the work of academics such as Ted Cantle and Eric Kaufman [cf. Papers 2a and 2b]. Their studies indicate that “the trend towards isolation” between different ethnic groups is at its greatest in smaller geographical areas, such as wards [op. cit.]. We have argued that this could not be otherwise: people naturally experience their lives at the level of their locality and/or workplace. In fact, the very statistical notion of a British population as a whole – and which is usually presented as being “ethnically mixed” – can only be functionally meaningful as an abstract category. It is precisely this abstraction that may allow one to present the UK population as being “ethnically mixed”, and which is thereby manipulatable for ideological purposes. In that sense, further, the concept of multiculturalism is itself, in the last instance, an ideological abstraction. This would not at all mean that there are no traces of multiculturalism in the UK: as in the case of segregation, multicultural practices are themselves clearly evident in specific geographical areas – such areas, however, would generally not be found in a borough such as Newham.
Now, the suggestion that multiple “clustering” and related community antagonisms are all phenomena limited to the local level does not mean that such phenomena are of marginal social significance. The Cantle-Kaufman study [op. cit.] has pointed out that such “clustering” is a local phenomenon that is being reproduced across England – and particularly so in the country’s urban areas. Not everyone would agree as to the exact magnitude of such reproduction – Tim Pendry, for instance, has argued that ethnic-based ghettoes in urban areas are “actually not as many as might be believed” [cf. the Tim Pendry Facebook account post, dated 17.02.2019; also cf. our Paper 2b, with respect to Pendry’s position on migrants in the UK]. Yet still, this Left-wing analyst fully acknowledges the existence of localized “cultural clusters” and their impact on the socio-cultural life in urban areas – he writes: “The problem is culturally severely localized because there are near-ghettos in selected urban areas… where some of the Muslims are really culturally one step up from West Asian village idiots… [T]he real issue is the speed and scale of the arrivals thanks to neo-liberal Prime Ministers Major and Blair”.
Of course, Pendry’s own estimations regarding the exact spread of “ethnic clusters” need be taken with a pinch of salt. Martin Robinson, writing for Mail Online [04.11.2016; cf. Paper 2a], and based on his reading of the Cantle-Kaufman findings, insists that racial polarization at the local level is usually being underplayed. Such ethnic antagonism, he writes, “has gone under the radar, but it is time this became a national priority because cohesion is at stake”.
Robinson’s emphasis on “cohesion” should be noted. The possible “islamization” of various “ethnic clusters” – and their functioning as relatively autonomous sub-cultures operating as a law unto themselves – may certainly undermine the cultural cohesion of UK society [of course, quite unlike the term “population”, that of “society” refers to very concrete social categories stratifying the UK social formation – and it is these social strata that determine in their own way the ideological content of a “nation”]. Of relevance here is a Huffpost UK poll published in 2015: it found that more than half of Britons saw the presence of Muslims in their country as a “threat”. More specifically, Jack Sommers would write: “The research found 56% of people think Islam is a ‘major’ or ‘some’ threat to Western liberal democracy” [cf. https://huffingtonpost.co.uk, 03.07.2015; updated 06.07.2015]. Thus, while the “islamization” of a community would be primarily felt at the local, interfacial level, the effects of this could at times – and depending on circumstances – reverberate across various social categories of UK society, thereby creating a generalized sentiment affecting national “cohesion”. One example of such circumstances has been the apparent hostility of Pakistanis residing in London’s “inner city” ghettoes towards Jews – such hostility has permeated UK political life at center-stage. Writing in 2016, a Left-wing commentator by the name of Andrew Lydon, would note: “Surely the core of antisemitism will turn out to be in the Pakistani inner city ghettos…” [cf. British Politics after Brexit, 30.09.2016]. We of course know that such anti-Semitic sentiments, while emanating from particular “ethnic clusters”, would ultimately cause a political crisis within UK’s Labour Party itself – this would, in turn, contribute to a relative erosion of national “cohesion”. But, then, these are entropic social tendencies that one would expect to see unfolding in any social formation characterized by relatively autonomous “ethnic cultures” operating as a law unto themselves.
Thus far, we have been examining “ethnic clustering” and its reproduction mainly in terms of the ghettoization of various ethnic communities, and we have done this while especially keeping the Borough of Newham in mind. And yet, not all of Newham’s “clusters” are ghettoes as such, let alone slums. What needs to be emphasized at this point is that “ethnic clustering” need not necessarily lead to the formation of ghettoes – in fact, the reproduction of “ethnic clusters” may, at times, simply mean the concentration of some ethnic group within a locality irrespective of the particular socio-economic status of its members. Such ethnic group could include members of the middle- or upper-middle class alongside common labourers – Newham’s East Ham, as we shall see, may be said to belong to just that type of community [on the other hand, “ethnic clusters” may themselves be sub-clustered along class lines, and which may yield ghetto situations – here, definitions as to what constitutes a “ghetto”, a “near-ghetto”, etc., do become rather fuzzy].
The fact that “ethnic clustering” may not necessarily cause the emergence of ghettoes, or even conditions approximating these, allows us to fully understand Pendry’s observation [op. cit.] that ethnic-based ghettoes in urban areas are “actually not as many as might be believed”. This, however, does not in itself rule out the widespread existence of ethnic-based “clusters” themselves and their almost perpetual reproduction. That there is such reproduction needs to be verified – before we examine the case of Newham itself, we shall point to some characteristic cases of “ethnic middle class clustering” and how such tendency may be near perpetual.
The most obvious case of middle- or upper-middle class “clustering” which has absolutely nothing to do with ghettoization is that of White Britons [discussed in Paper 2b]. We know that white homeowners move to “whiter areas” and do so because they happen to prefer what Understanding Society [cf. Papers 2a and 2b] euphemistically terms “different cultural amenities”.
Hugh Muir [The Guardian, op. cit.] seems to fully accept such type of “White flight” as presented by demographers – however, and for purely ideological reasons that we need not go into here, he chooses to focus on what he calls “Black flight” into UK’s heartlands. This approach is nonetheless of special interest for our purposes, as it mainly concerns the behaviour of middle class strata belonging to various ethnic minority groups. He writes: “Demographers make much of white flight – the movement of white Britons from the inner cities to the suburbs and beyond – interpreting its meaning and consequences. Less talked about is the growing movement of visible minorities into the heartlands of Englishness”. But the key question for us is this: What happens within those “heartlands of Englishness” when some segment of a non-White minority group happens to arrive and settle there? Do we, in such cases, see a reproduction of “ethnic clustering”?
To begin with, Muir accurately notes that many “successful professionals” belonging to ethnic minorities choose not to move from their “inner city” homes. Their choice to stay put is of major interest – this is what Muir writes: “One [non-White successful professional] said he would be reluctant as a matter of principle to move from inner city to suburb because being away from his community would be undesirable. He actively wanted to stay among folk who were like him” [my emph.]. We clearly see here that even “professionals” belonging to a particular non-White minority group wish to stick to the hub of their own identity group [the “folk who were like him”]. Such wish to “cluster” in terms of one’s particular ethnic identity – “as a matter of principle” – overrides whatever other identity expressive of one’s economic or social status.
Muir’s observations regarding non-White professionals who do not decide to stay put – viz. those Black “internal migrants” moving out from the “inner cities” and onto the suburbs – are, perhaps, even more telling. His findings may be summarized as follows:
● On settling in a particular “outer” suburb, they create a “new community” of their own – this happens “as sufficient numbers move into a suburb”.
● Within that “new community”, they eventually “create a local network of shops” catering to “culturally specific purchases”.
● They also create their own “community facilities” such as their own “places of worship”.
● Muir elaborates on such newly-established “places of worship” by giving an example: “The mainly black African King’s Family church in Chadwell St. Mary, Essex, caters for a new community but also acts as a conduit. People visit the church, befriend the congregation. Many then move in”. The case of the King’s Family church allows us to draw a number of obvious conclusions: 1. Its congregation is basically composed of a specific ethnic minority group [Black Africans]; 2. The church is directly linked to this specific community, suggesting that it is catering to the religious-cultural needs of an “ethnic cluster”; 3. The church functions as a connecting hub [“conduit”] which attracts people belonging to the same identity group – it thereby further perpetuates “ethnic clustering”; 4. The fact that “many then move in” is a clear indication that “clustering” is reproduced ad infinitum, and even in suburbs outside the “inner city”.
One may wish to object that we are somehow reading too much into Muir’s observations. And yet, it is Muir himself that sees what he calls “traditional pursuits” being “adapted to new realities”. The ethnic traditionality of such middle-class communities is not presented as a residual cultural practice – rather, it is seen as a living practice adjusted to the realities of establishing a new community. Summing up his observations regarding these new locales, Muir writes: “Inevitably, this [viz. that many more move into the new communities] alters the look and character of the suburbs, and the nature of the local economy. Food, hair, clothes and jewellery shops, temples, mosques, gurdwaras [places of worship for Sikhs]. Traditional pursuits are adapted to new realities” [my emph.]. To the extent that such “internal migration” on the part of ethnic minorities alters the cultural character of the affected suburbs, such suburbs constitute a reproduction of “ethnic clustering” even beyond that of the “inner city” spatial structure discussed above.
The reproduction of “ethnic clustering” in areas beyond London’s “inner cities” may, in fact, also be two pronged, whereby the establishment of a non-White “cluster” in an area originally occupied by White Britons may force the latter to establish their own “cluster” even further out. In examining the phenomenon of racial segregation in the UK classroom [Paper 2b], we had suggested that White Britons are being continually “pushed” out of their own cultural hubs. In that sense, we had further suggested, White Britons could find themselves being unwittingly “pursued” by non-Whites. Such an observation may be said to somewhat overstate the situation – and yet, Muir’s own observations seem to confirm it. He writes: “One can’t be Pollyannaish about this, as alongside black flight, demographers detect an extension of white flight. Minorities move out; many white Britons move out even further” [my emph.].
We have thus far – and by way of a preamble – attempted to describe the structure of the “social space” within which the Borough of Newham is generally embedded. Before we undertake a closer examination of certain dimensions of this borough, we need to simply identify at least some of the “ethnic clusters” that make up its mosaic. The myriad phenomena of “ethnic clustering” in Newham and/or East London have been recorded by a wide variety of sources – the geographical configuration of such “clusters” is so complex that only a specialist in the field of administrative geography could do justice to the problem. But a knowledge of UK’s administrative geography would not suffice. While local divisions and overlapping sub-divisions may be determined by the operation of local government structures, these divisions can be as much determined by the socio-cultural behaviour of the ethnic groupings themselves at grassroots level.
A cartography of the “ethnic clustering” of Newham is therefore well beyond our means – we shall here merely present some rather sketchy data based on one main source, that of the University of Manchester’s “Local Dynamics of Diversity: Evidence from the 2011 Census” [prepared by ESRC Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity, CoDE]. Entitled “Geography of diversity in Newham” [October, 2013], some of this study’s findings – with respect to non-White groups – include the following:
● According to the 2011 Census, approximately 72% of the residents of Newham belonged to non-White ethnic groups – these included Indians [14%]; Africans [12%]; Bangladeshi [12%]; Pakistani [10%]; other Asians [6%]; Caribbeans [5%]; and a motley of other ethnic non-White groups [statistics for these categories are apparently either non-existent or imprecise].
● As regards the geographical “clustering” of the Indian ethnic group residing in Newham and/or East London, the CoDE observes: “The Indian ethnic group is clustered in wards in parts of Newham and Redbridge… In Newham, more than a third of the population in East Ham North ward [38%], more than a quarter of the population in the wards of Green Street East [33%] and Green Street West [32%], and more than a fifth of the population in the wards of East Ham Central [23%], Wall End [21%] and Manor Park [20%] have an Indian ethnic identity”. Based on this information, one may conclude that the Indian ethnic group residing in Newham is concentrated around six basic clusters.
● As regards the geographical “clustering” of the African ethnic group, the CoDE observes: “The African ethnic group accounts for a fifth of the population in the Newham wards of Canning Town North and Customs House… There are larger clusters of the African group in parts of Greenwich, including Thamesmead Moorings [36%], Abbey Wood [24%] and Woolwich Common [24%], and parts in Barking and Dagenham, including Thames [27%] and Gascoigne [26%]”. The “clusters” amongst Africans in Newham seem to be slightly greater in number than in the case of Indians – the CoDE here refers to at least seven basic clusters around which the African ethnic group is concentrated. The greatest clusters are to be found in southwest Newham – their population density would accelerate between 1991 and 2011.
● With respect to “clustering” amongst the Bangladeshis, the CoDE observes: “The Bangladeshi ethnic group is the most clustered ethnic group in East London… More than two-fifths of the population in the Tower Hamlets wards of St Dunstan’s & Stepney Green [47%], Bethnal Green South [45%], Bromley-by-Bow [45%], Shadwell [44%], Mile End East [43%] and Whitechapel [40%] are Bangladeshi. In Newham, the largest clusters of the Bangladeshi population are in Little Ilford [20%] and Manor Park [19%] wards”. This allows us to draw the conclusion that Bangladeshi “clusters” in Newham and East London come to at least nine in number. We also note, for the sake of interest, that Bangladeshis constitute “the most clustered ethnic group” in the area.
CoDE data are obviously rough and incomplete, and we in any case use these selectively, our intention being to merely give some idea of how “ethnic clustering” is spread around Newham and/or East London. Keeping this in mind, one could state that in Newham and its environs there are at least twenty-two “ethnic clusters” [nine Bangladeshi; seven African; six Indian]. CoDE data indicate that Indians are the largest ethnic minority in Newham, the second largest being that of the Africans.
NEWHAM AS A CASE STUDY
In an attempt to examine Newham proper as a case study, it would be useful to very briefly place the borough in its historical context. From a historical perspective, the geographical area of Newham had been one central terrain wherein the White English working class would forge its own history. The working class neighbourhoods of what is now designated as the Borough of Newham naturally constituted a vital dimension of the history of London’s East Enders. E.P. Thompson, in his The Making of the English Working Class, Penguin Books, 1991, points to the inevitable class-based segregation that characterized the area vis-à-vis the centre of the City of London. Living conditions in the working class “enclaves” of the East End continued to remain downgraded even by the 19th century – we know, of course, that it would be that very “segregation” that would yield the distinct class identity of English working people. Thompson writes: “… in the often-cited example of London, it is by no means clear whether improvements in the centre of the City extended to the East End and dockside districts… Thus the sanitary reformer, Dr Southwood Smith, reported of London in 1839: ‘While systematic efforts, on a large scale, have been made to widen the streets… to extend and perfect the drainage and sewerage… in the places in which the wealthier classes reside, nothing whatever has been done to improve the condition of the districts inhabited by the poor’. Conditions in the East End were so noisome that doctors and parish officers risked their lives in the course of their duties. Moreover,… it was in the boom towns of the Industrial Revolution that the worst conditions were to be found…” [p. 354, my emph.]. Thompson concludes that by the 1830’s and 1840’s “the working people were virtually segregated in their stinking enclaves” [p. 355]. We know that the phenomenon of “segregation” would be reproduced through to the 21st century. This time, however, it would take on completely different forms and for a variety of relatively different reasons – above all, and as we have seen, it would be the “ethnic minority clustering” that would define the new “segregation”, and it would be a “clustering” that combined ethnic cultural practices with an array of class-based stratifications [though we are not to forget that, even in the East End of the 1880’s, one would also have the emergence of certain ethnic-based ghettoes following the influx of East European immigrants at the time – one case being that of the much discussed Jewish ghetto].
The question of 19th century “segregation” with respect to the working class “enclaves” of London’s East Enders has also been examined by Charles van Onselen in his The Fox and the Flies: The Criminal Empire of the Whitechapel Murderer, Vintage Books, 2008. Van Onselen notes that, by the 1880’s, a series of socio-economic factors “contributed to growing crime, destitution and poverty in the east, feeding the idea that London had a distinctive, separate, East End” [p. 40]. He goes on to describe conditions in the area as follows: “The East End of the 1880s clung stubbornly to the dockland recesses – a warren of interlinked dank alleys, dirty passageways and hidden courts. Roughly cobbled streets often stopped short of their apparent destinations or, more alarmingly still, ran off at unexpected angles. Swamped by thick fog during cold wet winters, it sweated mercilessly on summer’s days when breezes struggled to find their way through its bricked confusion. A closely knit mess, it nevertheless sustained nodules of habitation that were identifiably human. Squat cottages, relics of a bygone era, stood marooned between hundreds of cheap lodging houses inhabited by a host of criminals and thousands of casual labourers who returned to them after work in an economy which, for all its professed modernity, still pulsed strongly to a seasonal beat. Formerly dominant, lodging houses were, by the 1880s, being challenged by new model buildings and tenement blocks housing semi-skilled working-class men and women whose year-round labour churned out rent in slightly more predictable patterns” [p. 41].
We may add to van Onselen’s rather graphic description of the East End in the 1880’s that of Jack London’s own observations as presented in his The People of the Abyss [first published by The MacMillan Company, New York, 1903]. London, who visited the area in 1903, would note: “… today the dominant economic class… has confined the undesirable yet necessary workers into ghettos of remarkable meanness and vastness. East London is such a ghetto, where the rich and powerful do not dwell, and the traveler cometh not. And where two million workers swarm, procreate and die” [quoted in W.Z. Goldman and J.W. Trotter, op. cit., p. 35]. It would perhaps be of some interest to also quote here a text written by John Rennie [cf. “Jack London in London’s East End”, 16.06.2011, eastlondon.com], which further gives us some idea of London’s impressions of the world of the East End. This is what Rennie writes: “London was 27 years old when he hopped in a London taxi and told the startled driver to take him ‘to the East End’. In the opening pages of People of the Abyss London rather plays on the impossibility of anyone from the West End ever visiting the East… The picture given is of a hidden world that most Londoners are unaware of… Jack is unimpressed by the East End. ‘Surrounded on every side by close-packed squalor and streets jammed by a young and vile and dirty generation’. His cab driver drops him off at Stepney railway station…”
It should be noted that, at least as regards van Onselen’s and London’s descriptions, these basically focus on East London in its narrowest possible sense – viz. what is now the Borough of Tower Hamlets. But one may assume that similar conditions prevailed in the wider East London area, covering Newham, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Havering and part of Hackney. All writers underline the social segregation that characterized the neighbourhoods of the area. Such segregation, however, would not mean – as London wishes to insist – that the localities were hermetically sealed from the rest of the Greater London area, or even from the City of London proper. Socio-economic interaction between all localities applied in the past as it does in the present. Yet still, this would not at all rule out the relative socio-cultural autonomy of at least certain localities, and which therefore allows one to speak of the phenomenon of segregation. It is of great interest that such segregation – albeit taking radically different forms – stretches back into the distant past and has continued through to the 21st century [we shall also see elsewhere that this tendency towards segregation has not always been linear and uniform, given the attempted “gentrification” of certain localities].
The socio-economic life of the old, traditional, 19th century Newham was centered around the Royal Group of Docks. These were built between 1855 and 1921 within what is now the London Borough of Newham. They had been named as such after Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and King George V. It is absolutely important to note that this infrastructure would form the largest enclosed dock network in the world. Functioning as a global trading center, the docks would become a core part of the UK economy. This was, therefore, a major economic hub that would nurture UK’s White working class, and especially its dockworkers [those residing in West Ham came to about 7.000 in number, all of whom were casual workers, and which confirms van Onselen’s observation above; another 20.000 worked in local factories, including metal and machine trades]. Commencing with the TUC-organized strike in May 3, 1926, Newham would be an arena of continual industrial dispute throughout the early 20th century and even through to the 1960’s.
Newham, therefore, constitutes a classic case where a strong White working class tradition would come to thrive, and would do so since the mid 19th century. While it is beyond the scope of this paper to examine the specific cultural practices of the White working people of Newham, we may here simply refer to just one dimension of such practices, that of football. It is well-known that Newham had been home to West Ham United’s Boleyn Ground in Upton Park from 1904 and through to 2016 [thereafter, the football club – also known as “the Hammers” – would leave for Stratford’s Olympic Stadium]. The very existence of West Ham United F.C. was an organic part of the life of the White working class in the area – the team’s socio-cultural “base” was, and exclusively so, that particular indigenous social class. The gradual demise of the White working class in Newham would come to be reflected in the mutating nature of the football club itself – the latter would, in other words, lose its function as one of the intrinsic cultural nerve centers of White working class experience. Michael Fordham, who had literally grown up with the team in the decade of the 1980’s, would mourn “the death of its [the team’s] century-old ground and the working class football culture it nurtured” [cf. his article, “Ghosts of a lost East London: The last match day at West Ham’s Boleyn Ground – The final whistle blows”, https://www.huckmag.com, 5.09.2016, my emph.].
To give us some idea of the originally working class base of West Ham United F.C., we may briefly present here some basic data regarding the establishment of the team [for a more detailed recording of its history, though only covering the period up to 1915, cf. John Simkin, “History of West Ham United”, https://spartacus-educational.com, September 1997, updated July 2015]. The team had been established in 1895, initially as an amateur football club by the name of Thames Ironworks F.C. Its name originated directly from the workplace to which team-members belonged – viz. the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company, which was the largest and last surviving shipbuilder on the Thames at the time. The initiative to set it up had been taken by, amongst others, the company’s foreman and a local league referee, Dave Taylor. Other employees who joined the team – originally coming to about fifty in number – included an apprentice riveter, a ship’s fireman, a ship’s plater, some boilermakers, a foreman blacksmith, a clerk and a mechanical engineer.
By 1900, the football team would be reformed as West Ham United. Deeply rooted in the consciousness of the working people of East London, West Ham United was to establish itself as one of England’s legendary, iconic clubs. It was a club “made by the working class”, as Lauren Davison has observed [cf. https://onsideview.com, 10.05.2018], and it would give birth to a number of “working class heroes”, the most popular of these being Bobby Moore. This was the beloved footballer who would start playing for West Ham United as a youth in 1956 and would continue doing so as the team’s central defender up until 1974. He had captained his team for more than ten years. Bobby Moore and his team-mates were part of Newham’s social scene. They would all frequent the Black Lion public house in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Located in Plaistow, a district of West Ham, this pub remains one of the oldest landmarks in the area. It would be in this particular “drinking hole” that the residents of the area would rub shoulders and chat with the club’s football stars – youngsters who socialized with the footballers would look up to them as role models [their “icons”, therefore, were not abstract images mediated by the mass media, but a result of face-to-face interaction].
Geoff Hurst, who began his career as a footballer in the mid 1960’s with West Ham United, has this to say with respect to the Black Lion pub: “My most cherished memory was drinking at the Black Lion pub after the game. We didn’t need any encouragement after a game to have a drink. Like any players in those days… You couldn’t see players today going to the Black Lion and having a drink today. Or any players these days going to the pub. The relationship between the players and the fans has changed dramatically, like everything else in football” [cf. Sean Whetstone, “Black Lion hopes fans will still come to historic pub”, https://www.claretandhugh.info, 05.05.2016].
Yet another West Ham United footballer of the 1960’s, Harry Redknapp, would make the following comment: “After a game all of us would make our way to the Black Lion club in Plaistow, not too far from the ground. The pub is still there but I bet not too many professional footballers use the place any more, as nice as it is. We’d have a couple of beers, music would be playing and we’d be chatting about football to… anyone… who’d listen” [ibid.].
With respect to the popular status of these footballers as role models – which we have referred to above – we may here quote the words of Ray Winstone, a British actor born and bred in East London: “When I was growing up, the only hero figures around were gangsters, such as the Kray twin brothers, and bank robbers. But as I got older, I realized there were other heroes out there, such as the great footballer Bobby Moore, who became England captain”. Such footballers, says Winstone, became “real role models” [quoted by Lisa Pollen, “Why east London?”, https://www.telegraph.co.uk, 09.10.2014, my emph.].
Football and all that related to it, as also whatever social activity went on within the local pubs [also cf. Paper 2b on the traditional English pub], had come to constitute at least one dimension of the popular working class culture in Newham. Ever since the mid 19th century and through to Newham’s “Golden Era” following the Second World War, we would see the emergence and prevalence of what is known as working class “cockney culture”. Such culture cannot be reduced to the bleakness and hardness of East London as had been depicted by the Charles Dickens novels – these works were usually permeated with a Liberal sentimentalism that would not do justice to the whole story of the cockney worker and his daily life. The real “hard times” for “cockney culture” would gradually dawn with the advent of “ethnic minority clusters” rooting themselves in the various localities of Newham and its environs. Their impact on the world of the cockneys would take on historic proportions: it would lead to the demise of cockney neighbourhoods, to “White flight” and to a final, total abandonment of such culture by the “New Labour” ideology of multiculturalism.
But before we turn to such “hard times” – and which would basically manifest themselves by the late 20th century and on – we need to dwell on the originally dense cohesion of White working class “cockney culture” in the area of Newham. In purely numerical terms, this cohesion is clearly evident in the statistics provided by Malcolm James, Urban Multiculture: Youth, Politics and Cultural Transformation in a Global City, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Referring to 1930’s Newham, James notes that 96% of the borough’s residents were Englishmen, the vast majority having been born therein – on the other hand, “the remaining 4 per cent included 2.207 Scots, 1.327 from the Irish Free State, 450 Indians, 397 Sri Lankans, 1.793 Europeans [including 447 Polish and 282 Russians], 168 Canadians, 108 Caribbeans, 200 Australians, 164 Americans and 137 Argentinians” [my emph.]. We see here that the total number of all non-Englishmen would constitute a mere 4%. Of that rather insignificant minority, the total number of non-Whites would come to an utterly negligible presence of 955 individuals.
It is well-known that the Second World War would have a major impact on the area of Newham. The 1940-1941 German mass air attacks would be targeting Britain’s industrial areas, and one such area would naturally be that of Newham. From October 7, 1940 to June 6, 1941, the Germans would attack the Newham area by dropping 1.240 high explosive bombs, as well as 67 parachute mines.
Many homes would be destroyed in the area as a result of the Blitz. We know that that would ultimately lead to a huge development of tower blocks, as also to an influx of immigrant workers to build them. James [op. cit.] writes: “From marshland to industrial and colonial hub, the Second World War brought further change to the borough. As a result of its central importance to industry and trade, Newham suffered heavy bombing… A quarter of the houses [over 14.000] were destroyed through aerial bombardment…”
The influx of immigrants to help rebuild the borough has often been presented in a manner suggestive of ideological intentions. The usual approach is to place emphasis on the positive contribution of non-White immigrants to the reconstruction of the UK – this is frequently accompanied by inflating or obfuscating the numbers of non-Whites involved in such contribution. And yet, available official statistics [cf. www.nationalarchives.gov.uk, “Postwar immigration”] seem to unwittingly tell us a rather different story – we read: “When the Second World War ended in 1945, it was quickly recognized that the reconstruction of the British economy required a large influx of immigrant labour… The appeal for new workers was, however, aimed primarily at white Europeans, who had dominated immigration to Britain during the century before the Second World War and still played an important role after 1945... In the years immediately after the war, new arrivals came from all over Europe. These included a small number of German prisoners of war, a large number of refugees from the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union [130.000 Poles arrived during the first few years after the war, and 14.000 Hungarians after the failure of the 1956 uprising in Hungary], substantial numbers of Irish and Italian labourers, and a wide variety of displaced persons from refugee camps throughout Europe” [my emph.].
Of course, this is not meant to belittle the practical contribution of non-Whites to the reconstruction effort. The UK national archives continue: “Postwar immigration also attracted, for the first time, large numbers of workers and their families from outside Europe – mainly from the Caribbean and from India and Pakistan…”
We have not been able to pinpoint the exact number of non-White immigrants that would settle in Newham in the immediate post-war period. But we do know the general rate of immigration in the course of the 1950’s. Kaila Philo, writing for The New Republic in 2018, notes: “Right through the 1950’s, total immigration would’ve been measured in four figures – about 2.450 people a year” [cf. “The Caribbean immigrants who transformed Britain”, https://newrepublic.com, 22.06.2018, my emph.]. We may add to that particular statistic two absolutely vital pieces of information further verifying our understanding that the demographic cohesion of the cockney element had yet to be thrown out of balance anywhere in the UK in the period following the Second World War and at least through to the 1960’s:
● First: the UK’s Hindu population in 1961 came to a mere 0.06% – viz. about 32.000 people [cf. “Hinduism in the UK”, https://religiousmediacentre.org.uk, 27.03.2018]. It should be noted that the total population of the UK at the time came to 52.81 million residents.
● Second: the UK’s Muslim population in 1961 came to a mere 0.09% – viz. about 50.000 people [cf. Sophie Gilliat-Ray, Muslims in Britain, Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 117].
The cultural vitality and cohesion of Newham’s working class cockneys in the decade of the 1950’s has been described by Jennifer Worth, who lived and worked as a midwife in the Docklands at the time. We shall here present a number of extracts from her book, Call the Midwife: A true story of the East End in the 1950’s, Merton Books, 2002.
To begin with, and as regards material conditions in London’s Docklands, Worth writes: “By the 1950’s, most homes had running cold water and a flushing lavatory in the yard outside. Some even had a bathroom…” She further gives us a picture of the cultural practices of the cockneys in the area: “Most houses had a wireless, but I did not see a single TV set during my time in the East End… The pubs, the men’s clubs, dances, cinemas, the music halls and dog racing were the main forms of relaxation. For the young people, surprisingly, the church was often the centre of social life, and every church had a series of youth clubs and activities going on every night of the week” [my emph.].
As regards the prevailing ethics of the day, Worth observes: “Early marriage was the norm. There was a high sense of sexual morality, even prudery, amongst the respectable people of the East End. Unmarried partners were virtually unknown, and no girl would ever live with her boyfriend. If she attempted to, there would be hell to pay from her family”. We note here that, while “prudery” was apparently a characteristic of the more “respectable” citizens, yet still, rather strict sexual codes would apply to all and sundry [unmarried couples being “virtually unknown”, etc.].
The cockney element maintained its cohesion and relative autonomy as a socio-cultural grouping – for instance, Worth notes: “The thousands of seamen of all nationalities that came into the docks did not seem to impinge much upon the lives of the people who lived there. ‘We keeps [sic] ourselves to ourselves’, the locals said, which meant no contact. Daughters were carefully protected: there were plenty of brothels to cater for the needs of the seamen…” [my emph.].
Finally, however, Worth records the dramatic changes in the area that would ultimately come to truly impinge upon the lives and cultural practices of the indigenous residents by the early 21st century: “Life has changed irrevocably in the last fifty years. My memories of the Docklands bear no resemblance to what is known today. Family and social life has completely broken down…” [my emph.].
From a strictly economic point of view, Newham’s postwar “Golden Era” would be relatively short-lived – in fact, signs of its economic decline would become faintly evident as early as the 1960’s. And yet, it was within that decade – in 1965 – that the county borough of East Ham and the county borough of West Ham would be abolished, thereby formally becoming part of the London Borough of Newham under the newly established Greater London region. This was an essentially administrative restructuring, one of its aims being the “regeneration” and “new development” of the whole area. According to the official “Newham Character Study” [December 2017], Newham was then meant to become “the principal regeneration hub of London” – the 1960’s and 1970’s were to be a period of fast-paced, state-led systematic development, and especially in the field of housing. Similar attempts at such “regeneration” would, as we shall see, be repeated in the future. And yet, and as the selfsame study goes on to admit with respect to the 21st century, “Newham continues to be one of the most deprived local authority areas in the country” [p. 14].
The early signs of the dock’s economic decline – but which would in no way lead to what Worth refers to as the complete breakdown of cockney “social life” – may be put down to the increased use of container ships. The docks were eventually closed to commercial traffic, though that would only occur by 1981. This would eventually lead to widespread unemployment. The mass influx of migrants, especially by the decade of 1990’s, would further exacerbate the social problem: economic factors would combine with cultural polarization, thus yielding a situation which we intend to describe further below.
As to the decline of the docks, the “Newham Character Study” of 2017 [op. cit.] presents us with a combination of causes leading to their demise – it writes: “Technological change, containerization and Britain’s new membership of the EEC [in 1973], resulted in rapid decline of the docks and associated industry and railway works” [p. 184]. James [op. cit] has this to say regarding the 1960’s-1970’s period: “Further change came about through the decline of industry and the resulting unemployment. Between the end of the Second World War and the early 1960s – the period dubbed the ‘Golden Era’… – there was nearly full employment. In the following 40 years, industrial employment contracted by two-thirds… Between 1967 and 1974, employment at the Royal Docks declined from 7.180 to 4.068 positions…”
The period leading to the 1990’s was therefore contradictory: while, on the one hand, the declining economic role of the docks would gradually force Newham residents out of industrial employment, the UK State would nonetheless intervene to sustain the local economy. In the long run, however, and in combination with the continual influx of ethnic minorities in the borough, Newham would become – as described by the “Newham Character Study” – “one of the most deprived” areas of the UK. Socio-cultural cohesion amongst the White Britons would completely break down, with many opting for the “White flight” solution. Deeply symptomatic of the ultimate demise of “cockney culture” would be the fate of West Ham United F.C. The football club would be uprooted from its traditional home ground, Upton Park, and would move to Stratford’s Olympic Stadium in 2016 [we shall have to return to this uprootment, and its implications].
We may now turn to the present-day situation of the Borough of Newham, and as that has been primarily determined by events dating back to the late 20th century. Elsewhere, we have attempted to present a general picture of race relations in the UK, focusing on the questions of racial polarization [Paper 2a] and White “decamping” [Paper 2b] as manifested in the UK as a whole. Both phenomena are naturally prevalent in present-day Newham. Paradoxically, the seeds of racial polarization in the area were being sown well before the mass influx of immigrants. We have seen above the rather limited presence of Hindus [0.6%] and Muslims [0.9%] even by the early 1960’s. And yet, the White majority population of Newham was not, it seems, that much welcoming when it came to non-White newcomers at the time. We may here consider the case of Usmaan Hussain, residing in West Ham’s district of Silvertown. Joe Shute [cf. The Telegraph, op. cit.], writes of his case: “The 35-year-old restaurant manager’s family emigrated from Bangladesh to England after fighting in the Second World War and he has lived on the same street – Saville Road – since 1993. When he was growing up his was one of only two Asian households on the street and he remembers being subjected to appalling racism” [my emph.]. Hussain’s story – which in any case further confirms the sparse presence of non-Whites in the area at that time – does point to embryonic symptoms of racial disharmony [and which would much later yield some sort of a culture clash at the level of local “ethnic clusters”]. But such symptoms remain paradoxical – it is often assumed that the meager presence of migrants amongst indigenous populations does not yield the type of reactions that Hussain remembers. Tobias Brinkman, for instance, has observed: “In Chicago, Chinese immigrants experienced relatively little discrimination, largely because their number remained very small until the 1970s” [cf. “Shifting ghettoes”, in The Ghetto in Global History, op. cit., p. 202 – we need state that Brinkman’s text is rather useful in an otherwise worthless collection of essays on the question of ghettoes, as has already been noted above].
We know that by the late 1960’s and 1970’s, Newham would see the arrival of East African South Asians from countries such as Uganda, Kenya and Malawi. It is difficult to say whether these new arrivals would receive the same type of treatment as that experienced by Hussain. On the other hand, one may accurately state that such influx would in no way alter the overall demographic character of the borough – the balance of cultural forces would still clearly tilt in favour of White “cockney culture”.
It would be the decade of the 1990’s, and especially thereafter, that would see Newham’s ultimate cultural rupture with its cockney past. The basic statistics are well-known and highly telling [cf., inter alia, The Telegraph, op. cit.]:
● It is known that, between 2001 and 2011, Newham’s White British population would fall from 82.000 to 51.000. That would mean that, within a mere ten-year span, the borough would see the loss of 31.000 White Britons.
● In 1991, Newham’s White Britons [also including the Irish] comprised 56% of the residents – they therefore constituted a clear majority, with the non-Whites and/or non-British coming to 37%.
● By 2001, that demographic proportion would undergo a radical change: from 56% of Newham’s residents, White Britons would now plummet to 34% [a drop of 22%].
● By 2011, that 34% of White Britons would be halved again, to less than 17% of all Newham residents. It should be underlined that this decisive drop would happen in just ten years.
● That 17% presence of White Britons would constitute the lowest percentage of any borough in Britain. It would also mean a radical drop in the number of White Britons that constituted the largest of any local authority in England and Wales between 2001 and 2011.
As is apparent, Newham’s demographic balance would undergo changes that would have been beyond the imagination of the average cockney of the 1970’s. The tables would be turned completely upside down within that span of twenty years, especially commencing in 1990, with John Major as Prime Minister. The process would reach its maximum peak with the advent of Blair’s “New Labour” policies. Cameron’s Conservative Party government of 2010 would merely attempt to manage an already established reality.
Demographic statistics are of course telling – but the local, grassroots reality of Newham’s White working class cannot be understood merely at that rather abstract level. The either isolated or displaced cockneys of the area would feel a desolation and alienation that would translate into a new political configuration expressing such alienation across the UK – and it would be across the UK precisely because many White Britons had been displaced from their traditional geographical hub and had scattered around various regions of the UK [cf. Paper 2b]. For those that continued to remain within Newham – as also for those that had decided to jump on the bandwagon of “White flight” – a new and dominant socio-political status quo had emerged that seemed hostile to their interests. While that new reality would be pressing them towards an uncomfortable adjustment to the new multiculturalism, they would opt to resist at the political level – and thus UK’s new political configuration would emerge. That configuration would manifest itself in a variety of ways. But it would be the rise of UKIP – a party standing well outside the dominant political party system and the latter’s ideology of multiculturalism – that would first express that new political reality, at least as regards its early stages.
By 2006, UKIP would consciously capitalize on widespread concerns over the ever-rising immigration, in particular amongst the White working class. This would result in significant breakthroughs for UKIP at the 2013 local elections, the 2014 European Union Parliament elections, and the 2015 general elections.
The political reaction of White Britons to the new reality of rampant multiculturalism would be especially evident in the election results of 2014. In these European Union Parliament elections, UKIP was to receive the greatest number of votes [27%] of any British party, yielding 24 MEP’s. The party had won seats in every region of Britain, including its first in Scotland. Most importantly, it had made strong gains in traditionally Labour voting areas within Wales and, especially so, the North of England. As regards the latter region, UKIP would come either first or second in all 72 of its council areas.
Such ideological hegemony on the part of UKIP would – naturally – not be reflected in the erstwhile cockney stronghold of Newham. With 83% of its residents by now being either non-White or non-British, the Borough of Newham would vote for the par excellence party championing both multiculturalism and migration – viz. the Labour Party. Through the years, the latter’s voting clientele had mutated from that of the White working class to that of ethnic minority groups. In the May 22, 2014 elections – which would also include voting for the Mayor of Newham – the Labour Party would receive 61.2% of the vote in contrast to UKIP, which would only receive 6.4%. Obviously, the borough’s non-White and/or immigrant neighbourhoods were expressing their hostility to UKIP’s anti-immigration – and increasingly anti-Muslim – ideology. Newham, as a whole, was no longer the hub of “cockney culture” as described by Jennifer Worth – its socio-cultural morphology had undergone a deep and permanent change.
The White Britons of Newham had seen, within a relatively short period of time, the transformation of their neighbourhoods at a truly staggering speed. The quantitative and qualitative changes were so stunning that the BBC, that bastion of multiculturalist ideology, would nonetheless produce a documentary focusing on the area of the East End, including Newham itself. The documentary was given a title that encapsulated the new reality: “Last Whites of the East End”. Produced for BBC One in 2016, part of the introduction to the documentary reads as follows:
● “Documentary exploring the effect of immigration on the dwindling white community of the East End, from the perspective of those who remain and those who chose to leave”.
● “Newham in London’s East End is home to a tight-knit working-class community who have lived there for centuries. But over the past 15 years something extraordinary has happened to this cockney tribe – more than half of them have disappeared. Now the few who remain are struggling to hold on to their identity in the place they have always called home” [my emph.].
● “Many cling on to the past, fighting to keep the last places going where the white community meet, like Peter Bell, manager of the East Ham Working Men’s Club. This is now a hidden world of tea dances, boxing and drinking in the last club left – an oasis for those left behind” [cf. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07czw5k, my emph.].
We need to dwell on some of the points made here, if only because we intend to examine them below in some greater detail:
● The introductory text to the BBC One documentary speaks of a “tight-knit working-class community”: that it is “tight-knit” suggests that Newham’s remaining cockneys are isolated – or isolate themselves – from other “ethnic clusters” in the borough.
● As a grouping isolated in itself, cockneys have by now come to constitute a minority cluster – or “tribe” – amongst non-White clusters. The latter, taken as a whole, predominate both numerically and culturally as Newham’s majority population.
● This cockney “tribe”, according to the BBC One text, is “struggling to hold on to their identity”: the implication is that the struggles of Newham’s White working-class community are not merely of an economic nature. That the community is struggling for its “identity” suggests that theirs is an “identitarian” struggle. Alternatively, one might venture to suggest that such struggle is a form of post-modern “tribal” struggle in an increasingly alienating environment composed of a multicultural squeeze that is ejecting old “Englishness” out [although it is necessary to clarify here that the “identitarian” nature of their struggle should not by any means be confused with the “identitarian” movements that have sprouted in countries such as France or Austria].
● The BBC One text, as we have seen, places exclusive emphasis on the cockney struggle to survive as a White working class cultural milieu. While such an approach is accurate [given the socio-cultural circumstances we have been describing thus far], it nonetheless ignores yet another dimension of a cockney’s everyday struggles – viz. those of an economic nature. For the sake of interest, we may at this point quote an article published in The Economist –one of its observations is the following: “… the working class has been severely battered, in recent years, by the casualisation of labour…” [cf. Bagehot’s notebook, “Labour is no longer the party of the traditional working class”, 06.07.2018]. The article also asserts that, of all ethnic groups in the UK, it is poor White British children that perform worse in the classroom. But it is really quite impossible to disentangle the “economic” struggles of the White working class from those related to “identity”, given the socio-cultural realities of a place such as Newham.
● Lastly, when the text refers to the cultural practices of the last remaining cockneys of East Ham, it describes such practices as constituting “a hidden world”. We find such description especially accurate – it points to the single most important phenomenon characterizing the present-day Borough of Newham, that being the cultural fading of working class “cockney culture”. “White flight” has itself contributed much to this phenomenon.
Jimmy Hatton is a White East Ender who belongs to the “remainers” – though not necessarily to that type of Londoner who wishes that his country remain within the EU. Hatton remains stuck in his old East Ham neighbourhood because his ancestors have deemed it so – and yet his sense of isolation is unmistakable. Joe Shute [The Telegraph, op. cit.] presents the case of this White Briton as follows: “Jimmy Hatton still runs the same garage that has been in his family for 57 years… Hatton keeps the garage forecourt immaculate and covered in pots of flowers in honour of his parents. ‘All of my friends have moved out’, he admits ruefully. ‘But it was my dad’s wish to never sell this building’…” [my emph.].
Naturally, for remainers such as Hatton – as for others in his predicament [cf. Joe Shute, op. cit.] – the greater the number of White Britons that depart from the area, the less the borough feels like “home”. On the other hand, those that decide to depart do so because they can see that their White families’ way of life has disappeared, which is to say that – again – the borough feels unlike “home”. This therefore constitutes a vicious circle, it being deeply symptomatic of the fading of the ancient cultural milieu of the cockney “tribe”. It would perhaps be of some importance to add here that White departures from the borough are not always directly related to increasing crime rates, as one may assume [East Ham, for instance, is generally considered a “quiet place”] – the dominant cause of “White flight” seems to be that of the cultural fading overshadowing the borough.
It is Newham’s quintessential “diversity” that explains this cultural fading. Martin Robinson, in his Mail Online article [op. cit.], points out that Newham is, by now, the most culturally [or ethnically] diverse borough in the whole of the UK. It is within this sprawling anarchy of cultures and sub-cultures that the almost ancient cultural practices of the White working class have come to fade, to the point of a cultural obliviousness. For the previous Mayor of Newham, of course – the Labourite Sir Robin Wales – such anarchic “diversity” was supposed to be eclipsed via ideologically-informed interventions of “inclusiveness”. But the end-product of such policies would merely amplify the cultural domination of non-White or non-British groups throughout most of the borough. This is how Joe Shute [op. cit.] describes the state of affairs in Newham while Robin Wales was the borough’s Mayor: “Newham Council, led by elected Labour mayor Sir Robin Wales since 2002, has long pursued a policy of inclusion among its diverse population. The council makes a point of not funding any event that benefits a single particular ethnic group. The outcome is a sprawling mass of different cultures, 73 per cent of whom… are classed as black or ethnic minority” [my emph.].
Sir Robin Wales would be at the helm of Newham’s local authority for 23 years [16 years as Mayor and 7 years as Council leader]. By 2018, he would be succeeded by the Corbyn-backed Pakistani, Rokhsana Fiaz. The latter’s mayorship would further bolster non-White cultural hegemony in the borough, with little or no concern for the plight of the White working class as such. In fact, Fiaz’s political career had always focused on the need to challenge – what she saw as – “the scourge of racism and Islamophobia”. As the CEO of an international UNESCO project, she had played an important role in championing a distinctly “globalist” agenda: the project aimed at promoting the virtues of “interfaith” and “global citizenship”. Also symptomatic of her ideological orientation has been her involvement in projects set up by the European Commission and the Council of Europe [for all or most of the data referred to here, cf. “Mayor’s biography”, https://www.newham.gov.uk].
Within the context of Newham, the virtues of Fiaz’s “global citizenship” would inevitably translate into a linguistic behemoth completely strangulating Estuary English and/or the cockney dialect. Shute [op. cit.] writes: “Of the 147 languages today recorded in Newham, one would struggle to hear a cockney voice among them” [my emph.].
Such cultural or linguistic behemoth is fully confirmed by some of Newham’s non-White settlers. Usmaan Hussain, the Silvertown resident mentioned above, tells us that his two daughters attend a school where 43 different languages are spoken [cf. Shute, op. cit.]. Hussain is referring to Silvertown’s Drew Primary School, with 439 pupils on the school roll. According to Ofsted, the UK Office for Standards in Education, “The majority of pupils [in this particular school] are from minority ethnic groups and speak English as an additional language” [cf. https://api.ofsted.gov.uk]. That the majority of pupils belong to different ethnic groups speaking their own native languages naturally explains the linguistic behemoth experienced by Hussain’s children – one can only imagine how yet another minority, that of White British children, would have survived such a cultural cauldron.
We choose to speak of “cauldron” because, within such context, the British way of life fades into oblivion and thereby remains unknown to Newham’s residents. Hussain, speaking of his daughters, has no choice but admit that reality – he says: “They are exposed to multiculturalism, but if you don’t know the British way of life then what is the point of living here?” [my emph.]. Hussain’s daughters, in fact, may naturally survive such multiculturalist cauldron and could even thrive within it, if only because they happen to belong to a non-White majority both at school and in Newham’s neighbourhoods at large. Unlike Newham’s dwindling White Britons, a so-called ethnic “minority” such as the Bangladeshis are not experiencing any decisive loss of cultural identity. Usmaan Hussain can fully empathize with the native cockneys that he has – unwittingly or not – displaced. He says in all due honesty: “I’m a Muslim but whichever country you’re in you should be receptive to learning about their religion and their culture. The Britishness has gone” [my emph.]. We need not dwell here on Hussain’s apparent commiseration with respect to the fate of “Britishness” – we simply note that he, like anyone who lives in Newham, is fully aware that the once prevalent “cockney culture” has been peripheralized for good. Hussain adds: “… I don’t think it will ever return”.
Meddi Kizito, a Ugandan resident of the East End, also refers to the demise of “cockney culture” in his area. Kizito, who was in his early forties when interviewed, is the owner of a car wash facility on Barking Road. According to Shute [op. cit., who was writing in 2016], this settler had set up his business six years ago, after travelling alone from Uganda. He had settled down in the locality and started a family there. Shute notes that Kizito “enjoys living in the East End because it reminds him of home” [my emph.] – the obvious implication being that the cultural morphology of the locality is no longer such as to be reminiscent of any original British tradition. On the other hand, Kizito has “some sympathy for the native cockneys”, suggesting that he fully recognizes the plight of the locality’s indigenous population. This is how Kizito puts it: “From where we come from we would feel the same. Everybody has the right to feel safe and secure in their own culture” [my emph.]. While fully supporting the view that each ethnic grouping has the undeniable right to live in terms of its discreet cultural identity, Kizito acknowledges that the native cockneys have been deprived of such right. The political status quo had rendered the White working class “cockney culture” a peripheralized milieu in the Borough of Newham, and settlers such as Kizito are all too aware of the practical implications.
Shute [op. cit.] further interviewed a White female East Ender who continues to run a pub in the area. He writes: “Further down the road [viz. Barking Road], Ginny Bailey, 43, runs a pie and mash shop set up by her mother, Jaqueline. Two pubs nearby have long closed and she says she has been forced to branch out her business to survive”. It should be explained here that pie and mash [as also eels] is the par excellence traditional White working class food that had originated directly from within the ranks of East End’s cockneys – it is said that the pub pie dates back to the 19th century [the first pub having been founded in 1884]. That Bailey is struggling to survive is further symptomatic of the demise of “cockney culture” and everything related to it – London’s TimeOut has itself observed that pie and mash shops constitute “an endangered species” [cf. https://www.timeout.com, 20.08.2018].
The gradual shutting down of the traditional English pub and the end of the time-honoured cockney dish – both being extensive phenomena throughout Newham and something much lamented by many White Britons – would mean that people such as Bailey would be forced to adjust to the new cultural environment, unless she would take the decision to opt out of business altogether. Shute notes that Bailey “has considered starting to serve up halal meat pies”. On the other hand, such adjustment could trigger a culture-conflict of sorts – Shute continues in his report that Bailey “fears her old regulars would not approve” [my emph.].
It should be emphatically noted here that the gradual disappearance of the traditional English pub is not a phenomenon limited to the Borough of Newham. In his Mail Online article [op. cit.], Martin Robinson points to just one other area – that of Blackburn [cf. Paper 2a] – where traditional pubs are vanishing from the new cultural environment. He writes: “Many traditional pubs in Blackburn have closed as the surrounding homes have been bought up by Muslims” [my emph.].
We have stated above that the cultural balance in the neighbourhoods of Newham would still be tilting in favour of “cockney culture” at least up until the decade of the 1970’s. By the early 21st century, White working class culture and traditions would constitute a residual Lebenswelt, with remnants of it still struggling to survive while consciously experiencing an incontrovertible fading. Robinson [op. cit.] put it as follows in 2016: “… White British ‘East Enders’ say immigration is killing off traditions that used to be commonplace in the area in the 1970’s” [my emph.]. It would be absolutely wrong to assume that such reality is an exclusive characteristic of the Borough of Newham. Birmingham, for instance, is yet another replica of that same reality. Martin Snell, a British Left-winger writing in British Politics after Brexit [25.03.2019], makes the following observations with respect to the City of Birmingham, located in the English Midlands: “The real problem is the cultural apartheid that has resulted from multiculturalism. Whole districts are now almost exclusively Muslim and there is little or no dialogue [or attempt at] between communities”. He notes that the vast majority of businesses in his locality, all of which belonged to White locals thirty years ago, are now owned and staffed exclusively by Asians. The plight of the White working class is reminiscent of the situation in Newham – Snell continues: “… while the working class white population remains corralled in the increasingly run down council estates, with young people having little or no hope of ever affording a home of their own”.
Newham, nonetheless, does stand out in one very specific sense vis-à-vis other areas similarly characterized by “ethnic clustering”, at least as regards the Greater London area – in recent years, it would be recording the highest number of National Insurance registrations of any London borough [ranging from anything between 26.000 to more than 29.000 registrations]. Such record numbers, of course, are reflective of the rates of unemployment in the borough. We shall here present a very rough picture of the “worklessness” situation prevailing in 21st century Newham [data are based on an official report compiled by Paul Sissons, Sara Dewson, Rose Martin and Emanuela Carta, “Understanding worklessness in Newham: Final Report”, Institute for Employment Studies, 2010, p. vi]. Some basic facts include the following:
● Regarding rates of employment in the Borough of Newham, this IES report for 2010 notes: “The employment rate in the borough is particularly low for women and for ethnic minorities – only 46 per cent of working age women in Newham are in employment [compared to 62 per cent in London], and the employment rate among ethnic minorities stands at 49 per cent [compared to 59 per cent in London]” [my emph.].
● “In total there are 72.100 working age Newham residents who are workless, 44 per cent of the working age population” [my emph.].
● Very importantly, the report estimates that the unemployment rate in Newham is approximately double that of London.
● With respect to benefit claimants, the report notes: “Newham’s out-of-work benefit claimant rates exceed those for London across all benefits. The borough has 13.150 claimants of Incapacity Benefit/Employment Support Allowance [7.9 per cent of the working age population], 9.820 Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants [5.9 per cent] and 6.460 claimants of lone parent benefits [3.9 per cent]”. The total claimants for 2010 would come to 29.430 people.
● The report attempts to identify the basic reasons for the high rates of “worklessness” in Newham. One extremely important reason is what it categorizes as “cultural worklessness” – presumably, this would include people who remained “workless” given their specific ethnic-based cultural attitudes towards work. The idea of “cultural worklessness” had been more or less coined by Ian Duncan Smith, British Conservative Party politician and founder – in 2004 – of the think tank, Centre for Social Justice. “Cultural worklessness” suggests that certain ethnic groups in the UK espouse cultures that do not recognize the value of work as such. Rather, they are prone to “welfare dependency”, a habit passed down the line of succeeding generations, from grandparent to parent and then on to son. The phenomenon – also referred to as “welfare scrounging” – is especially evident amongst Bangladeshis and Pakistanis [and even more so amongst the females of these respective groups]. The IES report points to these two ethnic groups with specific reference to Newham.
● A second – and definitely as important – reason explaining “worklessness” in Newham is what the report terms “imported worklessness”. This, of course, is a result of the continual flow of new migrants into the borough.
The high rate of unemployment – and especially in a borough which remains “one of the most deprived local authority areas in the country” [cf. “Newham Character Study”, December, 2017, above] – naturally goes hand-in-hand with a high crime rate. This has given birth to gang networks and gang culture in certain localities of the borough [phenomena to be discussed in some detail in forthcoming papers of this project].
By 2012, with the advent of the Olympic Games in the UK, concerted attempts would be made to deal with Newham’s so-called “deprivation” and related social problems [crime included]. Most events for the Summer Olympics were to take place in Newham’s metropolitan district, Stratford. The project would aim at a major regeneration of at least that district’s public services. According to Tim Burrows, writing for The Guardian, “Swaths of the media, the sporting fraternity and politicians of all stripes celebrated the coming regeneration of the forgotten East End due to the planned Olympic Games” [cf. “Legacy, what legacy? Five years on the London Olympic park battle still rages”, 27.07.2017, my emph.]. In fact, the final upshot of such project would be the creation of a “new Stratford” adjacent to the “old Stratford”. We may here consider a number of observations made by Carsten Volkery in a Spiegel Online article [cf. “Olympics a mixed blessing for London’s East End”, www.spiegel.de.international, 24.07.2012] – some of these observations include the following:
● The “old Stratford”, in stark contrast to the “new Stratford”, would remain an immigrant neighbourhood.
● Following the regeneration project prompted by the hosting of the Olympic Games, Stratford’s immigrant neighbourhood would see a collapse of its local trade activities.
● The immigrant neighbourhood would thus be characterized by a series of dilapidated trade centers dating back to the decade of the 1970’s.
● Given, inter alia, the collapse of its local economic activities, the “old Stratford” area would be struck by rising rates of unemployment. According to Volkery: “Even since the Olympic bid, unemployment here has risen… more sharply than in the rest of the city” [my emph.].
● As a result of the sharp rise in unemployment, Volkery observes that “The surrounding neighborhoods are as poor as ever…” [my emph.].
● Volkery draws the following general conclusion: “… the regeneration of one of Britain’s poorest areas threatens to leave long-time [non-White] residents out in the cold”.
By 2015, the then Mayor of Newham – Robin Wales – would make yet another attempt to help rejuvenate the borough, both economically and socially. This attempt involved the transference of West Ham United F.C. from its original home ground – in Upton Park [cf. above] – to Stratford’s Olympic Stadium. Wales had estimated a £3 million-a-year profit for the council from the agreement to grant a 99-year concession to the football club at the Stratford venue. This new attempt, however, would result in a noteworthy financial disaster, and thereby further exacerbated the problematic socio-economic conditions prevailing in the borough. Rachael Burford, writing for London’s Evening Standard, noted in July, 2018: “Newham council threw £40 million of public money ‘down the drain’ when it backed the flawed deal to turn the Olympic stadium into West Ham’s new home…” [cf. Rachael Burford, “£40m ‘thrown down drain’ in council Olympic stadium deal”, Evening Standard, 17.07.2018].
Apart from the assumed financial gains for the council, the Mayor was also endeavouring to resuscitate the social life of the present-day East Enders by using the stadium to promote so-called “community days”. Burford explains the financial dimension of such a project: “In total Newham invested £52.2 million in the stadium, injecting a further £12.2 million in working capital between February 2015 and June 2017, in return for free event tickets and 10 community days a year” [ibid., my emph.].
However, the council’s projected financial returns on the investment would not materialize. By December 2017, Wales would acknowledge the project’s failure: “It is regrettable that the finances of the stadium have not followed the expected course. It was vital for Newham, however, that the stadium remained a public asset in public ownership to maximize its regeneration, community and other financial benefits” [ibid.].
Apart from areas such as “new Stratford”, the vast majority of Newham’s “ethnic clusters” would continue to be characterized by stagnation and underdevelopment – and which would be accurately expressive of that borough’s function as an “inner-city periphery” [as has been discussed above]. The deeply-rooted criminal or gang-networks would thereby continue to thrive therein. Now, in our paper on Muslim ghettoes in the Western world [cf. above], we had pointed to a possible “terror-crime nexus” whereby “inner-city peripheries” approximating slum conditions and harbouring gang-networks may be predisposed to nurturing Jihadist-related terrorist groupings. We had further argued that the sub-cultural “closed” systems of such ghettoes are susceptible to such tendencies. It is difficult to assess the extent to which Newham’s “ethnic clusters” are in fact prone to these types of phenomena. Merely for the sake of interest, we shall here quote Gary Armstrong, Richard Giulianotti and Dick Hobbs on this matter. In their study, entitled Policing the 2012 London Olympics: Legacy and Social Exclusion, Routledge, 2017, they make the following – all too stark – observation:
“We were constantly told by [police] officers of all ranks that Newham contained more people involved in and suspected of involvement in Islamic terrorism than anywhere else in the UK” [p. 9, my emph.].
To be fair, however, the writers of this book wish to insist that “We saw no evidence of this alleged terrorist ‘footprint’…” [ibid.]. Their intention, of course, is to absolve Newham’s Muslim community of such police “accusations” – and which is an approach deeply symptomatic of the vast majority of “studies” churned out by the Left-Liberal universities. But their approach is plainly infantile – need it be said that whatever “terrorist footprints” would, quite obviously, not be visible to whichever scribblers.
While it would be as naïve to wish to draw any general conclusions about the “terror-crime nexus” pertaining to Newham, we may here simply list a number of Newham residents who have in fact been charged with Islamic-related terrorist activities. Some of these include:
● Newham resident: Kazi Islam, 18 years old.
[cf. https://www.bbc.com.news/uk-32521780, 29.04.2015].
● Newham resident: Umar Ahmed Haque, 25 years old.
[cf. https://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk, 21.11.2017].
● Newham resident: Muhammad Abid, 27 years old.
● Newham resident: Abuthaher Mamum, 19 years old.
● Newham resident: Nadeem Ilyas Patel, 25 years old.
We shall end this paper on Newham by quoting a number of Britons regarding their views on this particular borough [our source is Robinson, op. cit.]. The quotes, accompanied by brief commentary on our part – as also by the number of upvotes or downvotes these have received – are the following:
● “NANIS” [pseudonym; many of the commentators that follow do not use their real names] – a resident of Wrexham, largest town in the north of Wales: “What an unwanted mess – treacherous government plans”.
REACTIONS: 816 upvotes; 19 downvotes
For “NANIS”, Newham is a “mess”, suggesting that the borough is, as a local structure, dysfunctional. The explanation given for this is highly politicized – without any further elaboration, the UK Government is seen as having deliberately betrayed its citizens. The writer might be referring to the Government’s imposition of multiculturalism and the rampant influx of migrants in the area.
● “Jackflash” – a resident of Oxford: “Multiculturalism is not working… hasn’t over the past decades. But still shoved down our throats”.
REACTIONS: 691 upvotes; 14 downvotes
“Jackflash” expresses a view very much similar to that of “NANIS”. Both refer to the question of dysfunctionality [“mess”; “not working”]. Both refer to imposed government policies [“government plans”; “shoved down our throats”]. Interestingly, “Jackflash” chooses to explicitly relate the problems of Newham to those of multiculturalism.
● “Shaun” – residing somewhere in Mid Wales, it being the central region of Wales: “Forced integration is just as bad as segregation. In fact it’s worse and will create more hatred”.
REACTIONS: 573 upvotes; 8 downvotes
Like “Jackflash”, this commentator points to the undemocratic imposition of government policies [“shoved”; “forced”]. For “Shaun”, the dysfunctionality of multiculturalism takes on a very specific form – viz. that of racial “hatred”. We therefore have here a clear reference to racial polarization. We need notice that “Shaun” seems to see a catch-22 situation: both integration and segregation yield problematic race relations [although it seems he would opt for segregation – comparatively speaking, it would generate less hatred].
● “Chris 84a” – a resident of London: “I’m 32 and went to a state grammar school, from 11-16 [years of age] we had about 15 Muslim kids between 4 classes in the year, so about 4 per class, and there was no segregation we all mingled and friendship groups were not defined by race. When we entered 6th form about 10 or so more Muslim kids joined the school and all of a sudden they started to segregate themselves, towards the end of the two years fights between race groups started to occur. Make of that what you will”.
REACTIONS: 727 upvotes; 15 downvotes
The comment made by “Chris 84a” fully confirms our findings with respect to classroom-based segregation [cf. Paper 2b]. It also confirms “Shaun’s” experience that “forced integration” yields “more hatred”. But “Chris 84a” does go slightly further. Based on his experiences as a school pupil – presumably somewhere in Newham – he tells us that: [i] imposed integration in the classroom finally yields a self-imposed segregation, at least as the number of pupils from an ethnic minority group increases; [ii] the self-imposed segregation, a move made by the Muslim children themselves, yields – ipso facto – racial polarization; [iii] such racial polarization yields race-related violence in the classroom [and cf. our Paper 2a, which examines ethnic-based mass riots in various localities of the UK from the 1980’s through to 2011].
● “Ferdinand” – a resident of London: “… Horrible, horrible statistics. Politicians have destroyed this wonderful country. It makes me very sad”.
REACTIONS: 830 upvotes; 23 downvotes
One may assume that “Ferdinand” chooses to voice his views on Newham by commenting on the general situation prevailing in his country. But his reference to the “horrible statistics” concerns the dwindling presence of Whites in particular areas, one such being Newham. As we can see, he feels that the UK has been “destroyed”, and thus echoes the views of “NANIS” and “Jackflash”. Like most of the other commentators, he adopts a position hostile to “politicians” in general, as these are held responsible for what has happened to his previously “wonderful” country. As is obvious, he is pessimistic – such a frame of mind is evident amongst most of the commentators.
● “Bertie 99” – a resident of the town of Colchester, in the county of Essex, southeast England: “Welcome to our replacement population. Anyone noticed we left the doors open?”
REACTIONS: 763 upvotes; 24 downvotes
This comment is more or less expressive of the types of sentiments shared primarily amongst UKIP supporters, and is therefore deeply political. It further echoes those “horrible statistics” referred to by “Ferdinand”.
● “Tomstap” – a resident of Carterton, in West Oxfordshire: “… the consequence will be a majority asians in the future because they have large families”.
REACTIONS: 285 upvotes; 92 downvotes
The reference to “majority asians” is obviously analogous to that of “replacement population” – like “Bertie 99”, “Tomstap” would also espouse political positions akin to the UKIP variety.
● “Daniel” – a resident of London: “If my Granddad saw this now, he will be discussed [probably means “disgusted”], this is what happen [sic] to this country since he fort [probably means “fought”] in world war 2”.
REACTIONS: 556 upvotes; 45 downvotes
The sentiments expressed by “Daniel” are obviously akin to those expressed by Britons such as “Ferdinand”, “Bertie 99” and “Tomstap”. Judging by his relative linguistic incompetence, one may guess that “Daniel” belongs to the English working class – as we know, many working class people would fully espouse the views expressed by “Daniel”.
One may say that the above quotes are rather useful in ascertaining at least part of White British sentiments regarding Newham [and/or places such as Newham] – and that, if only because they are accompanied by the upvotes and downvotes of a sizeable number of Britons. We note the following important statistics regarding all eight comments:
● The total number of votes [not people] reacting to all eight comments comes to 5.481.
● Of these, the total number of upvotes comes to an overwhelming 5.241.
● The downvotes are a meager 240.
Yet still, and despite the importance of such statistics, it would be completely inaccurate to suggest that the upvote versus downvote ratio is representative of the sentiments of White Britons in toto. One should keep in mind that participants in any on-line discussion may generally tilt towards one ideological perspective rather than another, depending on the particular on-line platform and its own political orientation [which in this case is Mail Online, said to be characterized by a Right-wing bias].