Leopards…Spots

For those of you who are wedded to the Classic Editor, here is a type of block I found in the Block Editor:

2020-06-22T00:00:17

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

Windrush Day

It is a good opportunity to mention Windrush Day.

For those of you who don’t know, after the Second Warld War, the UK was short of manpower, and so sent out a call to its colonies for workers. At that time, many of the islands in the Caribbean were still British colonies, and the Caribbean sent boatloads of people over to work to help the UK recover.

The first such boat, carrying 1,027 people, was the MV Empire Windrush, and it landed at Tilbury, just outside of London, on 22 June 1948. At the time, official documentation was often overlooked.

This, and subsequent boats, often carried nurses, to work in our newly-formed NHS (formed 1 January 1948), plus people destined for jobs which British people did not want to do, like driving buses. Other occupations included coal mining and steel manufacturing.

These immigrants, though helping the economy, were met with hostility in many quarters of the indigenous population, discrimination was rife, but almost accepted. There were white communities, there were black communities, and never the twain… By the time I came along, there wasn’t so much hostility as ignorance. Because Liverpool was a port, one or two black people had been settled there for years, and the name Windrush was nothing more than an answer to a quiz question. Black people were there in our society, simple as that.

Fast-forward to the 2010s. The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, was under lots of pressure about immigration. In fact, one of the reasons for Brexit was because one of the fundamental cornerstones of the EU is freedom of movement. The pressure was so much that he instructed his then Home Secretary, a certain Theresa May, to crack down. Being largely undocumented in the first place, descendants of the Windrush became prime targets. Note that we were talking fifty-sixty years later, so two or three generations down the line.

The press got hold of the story. There was public outrage, that people who had given up everything in order to answer the call, had been treated so shabbily. There then followed exposés about immigration in general, and how people had been prevented from working, prevented even from renting, because they lacked the correct documentation.

Windrush Day was introduced in 2018 by the UK government – the same government which had carried out the deportations. It would be nice to think that they had learned their lesson but actually, they just got found out, that’s all. Ironically, the Prime Minister who unveiled the day was a certain Theresa May.

Indeed, if you search on the internet for Windrush Day, the first few hits you will find are propaganda sites by the UK government, aimed at telling the world how progressive we are. My Jamaican friends know different.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Formerly Stroke Survivor UK. Designed/developed IT systems for banks, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing from home, plus do some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

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