LONDON (TIP): A senior politician from the UK Independence Party (UKIP) on Thursday claimed parts of London were being “ethnically cleansed” of white people. Raising an alarm over “disappearing diversity”, the party’s Harrow branch chairman Jeremy Zeid tweeted: “The almost absence of white faces in Ilford is worrying. Mike Gapes is so busy being ‘right on’ he is either blind to or deliberately complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Ilford which I’m sure will be called racist.”
Ilford, in the London Borough of Redbridge, is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the UK. Just over 42% of residents are white and a third were born outside the UK. Gapes is the Labour MP for Ilford South. The UKIP had performed strongly in last weekend’s European Parliament vote, topping all rivals. Zeid’s comments came a day after one in every three Britons admitted to being racially prejudiced against people of other races.
According to the British Social Attitudes Survey, published on Wednesday by the National Centre of Social Research (NatCen), 30% of more than 2,000 people surveyed said they were prejudiced against people of different races. The figures show 3% said they were “very” prejudiced against people of other races and 27% said they were “a little” prejudiced. The figures herald a return to previous levels of racial intolerance before an all-time low in 2001 (25%), NatCen said.
“The findings are troubling,” said Penny Young, chief executive of NatCen Social Research. “Levels of racial prejudice declined steadily throughout the nineties, but have been on the rise again during the first decade of this century. This bucks the trend of a more socially liberal and tolerant Britain. Our local and national leaders need to understand and respond to increased levels of racial prejudice if we are to build strong local communities.”
The area least likely to self-describe as racially prejudiced is Inner London (16%) and the area most likely, the West Midlands (35%). Levels of racial prejudice have also been shown to rise with age: 25% of 17-34 year olds, in comparison to 36% of over-55s. A recent report from the think tank Policy Exchange, A Portrait of Modern Britain, said almost one in three people in Britain would be from an ethnic minority by 2050. Non-white people would make up between 20% and 30% of the population by 2050, it said. The current share is around 14%.