Black participation and the transformation of the ‘race issue’ in British politics

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Abstract

Following Enoch Powell’s prediction in 1968 that a national calamity would follow in the wake of immigration from the Caribbean and from the Sub-Continent, ‘race’ became an issue of major significance, with 43 per cent of the population supporting forced repatriation by 1974. Less than a decade later barely one per cent of the electorate considered immigration to be one of the two most important issues facing the country. Rather than public opinion, it is the government’s and policy makers’ approach which frame the current debate. From a situation in the early 1970s where ethnic minority political interests were seen as peripheral, the ‘ethnic vote’ is increasingly being wooed by politicians. The political influence of ethnic minorities remains, however, minimal, and where concessions have occurred they have been the result of white liberal opinion. The ‘liberal settlement’ has been criticised from the right and left which has usefully served to highlight what has been achieved and what remains to be done.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-41
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes

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