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- Mar 2021
In 1997, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government passed an act that would permanently change the face and character of the United Kingdom, something that the writer and social critic Benjamin Schwarz called the country’s “most profound social transformation since the Industrial Revolution.” In an effort, apparently, to make the U.K. a full participant in the modern, globalized world, the government radically relaxed immigration policies, making it much easier for people to settle there. It initiated a wave of mass immigration to the country, which continues to this day. As Schwarz noted in his essential essay, “Unmaking England,” in 2014 “636,000 migrants came to live in Britain, and 27 percent of births in Britain were to foreign-born mothers.” The majority of the immigrants were from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Somalia, and Nigeria. The result is that Britain, of all places, is becoming one of the most multiethnic, multiracial, and culturally diverse countries in the world—yet a monarchical structure remains within it that is and has always been 100 percent white.
This is some important context that many (Americans at least) are missing in this general story.