In order to answer this question I will first examine how Britain accepted the Migrants and secondly I will be evaluating the actions that the British Government and people did and in my conclusion I will include whether the British were tolerant or not. The Oxford dictionary defines tolerance as "Permit without interference. " In examining whether Britain has been a tolerant nation, we need to look at different periods in time. When the Jews migrated to Britain (1880-1901) most British people sympathised with their problems.
Though society was class ridden during this period it remained fairly tolerable because the ruling aristocracy and upper middle class kept a sense of duty towards those lower than them. However when greater number of Orthodox Jews arrived from Eastern Europe and mostly settled in the East End of London, the locals feared that these immigrants would take over their jobs, fearful of this, they became hostile. The locals believed that the immigrants pushed up rents and provided insanitary conditions and overcrowding. Newspaper articles printed at the time also led to hostility towards the newcomers.
They printed articles that focused on the disadvantages that the Jews brought. Hostility was also shown because some British politicians and trade unionists blamed them for taking the jobs that the English workers would have done. Other politicians sought to gain politically in their election campaigns by highlighting differences between the new comers and the English. The Royal Commission on Alien Immigration Act of 1904 was passed. This meant that those Jews who could not offer Britain any skill were not allowed to migrate to Britain. Britain tolerated the immigrants by passing the Alien Act of 1905.
This sought to control immigration and was successful in doing so. Not only did this slow down immigration but also sent a powerful message of deterrence to anyone else thinking of migrating to Britain. 1914 saw the First World War. There was a great deal of hatred towards the Jews at this time because the English wanted to test the loyalty of the Jews, whether they would fight for England or not. Violent attacks and civil disobedience took place in areas of invasion by the immigrants, like the East End of London, Whitechapel in Leeds and in parts of Manchester.
The British Government again tolerated this by introducing the Alien Restrictions Act of 1919, which reduced migration, but Jewish prejudice was still prevalent in many areas of Britain in the 1920's. In the 1930's there was tolerance of the English towards the Jewish. The Jews were physically attacked; there was anti-Jewish hooliganism, vandalism of Synagogues and anti-Jewish marches. One such march was in October 1936, Cable Street, London. Sir Oswald Mosley, in military uniform, organised a march to stir up hatred of the Jews. There was civil disorder, violence and again hooliganism at this march. Mosley inspecting supporters
To tolerate this behaviour the British Government passed on the Incitement of Disaffection Act of 1934 and the Public Disorder Act of 1936. These Acts calmed down the situation by controlling the holding of marches. The 1940's and 1950's saw the arrival of different immigrant communities. In 1945 Jamaicans arrived on a ship called 'Windrush. ' Some welcomed them, but some MP's and public weren't too pleased. These new immigrants required accommodation and jobs. This is when they experienced 'colour bar' which is racism. This colour bar prevented immigrants from getting jobs, housing and entering cafes and entertainment venues.
Because of this they took on difficult, dirty and inconvenient jobs, which the locals did not want. Immigrants looking for somewhere to live The British Nationality Act of 1948 was passed. This gave citizens of the Commonwealth equal rights of citizenship as the British After 1962, immigration became a major political issue. The next immigrants came from rural areas of India and Pakistan. They found it difficult to adapt to urban life. Because there was a slow down in economic growth that lead to negative attitudes towards black and brown immigrants the Immigration Act of 1962 was passed.
This gave black and brown people restrictions on coming to Britain. Fighting in 1964, against anti-racist politicians Another act that was introduced was the Race and Relations Act of 1965 and another in 1968. This Act made it unlawful to discriminate anyone because of their race, colour, ethnic or national origin in public places, public transport, employment, housing, the provision of goods and services and also in advertisements. People began to accept that the immigrants also had a right to live and were to stay in Britain.
In 1968 the same tragedy occurred with the Kenyan Asians who were victims of Kenya's policy of Africanisation. These Asians held British passports, but nevertheless the government felt compelled to keep them out because of the speeches made by Enoch Powell MP and public pressure. Thus the British tolerated the Kenyan Asians by passing the Commonwealth Immigration Act of 1968. This meant that Kenyans were not allowed to enter the country. Enoch Powell. Some British were not tolerant towards the immigrants because popularity of parties such as the National Front increased in the 1970's.
Their aims were to introduce racist policies and laws and send back newcomers. But many British were also tolerant of the immigrants because anti-racist organisations increased to help prevent the National Front from spreading. One such organisation that helped stopped racism was the Anti-Nazi League. The 1980's witnessed a severe challenge to tolerance. There was violent riots in Brixton and in mare than thirty other towns and cities. These were the first riots involving clashes of large numbers of black people against the police.
According to the Scarman report, the riots were partly caused by racial discrimination. Thus the government took action and to tolerate this, passed the Nationality Act of 1981. British Nationals were no longer British citizens so it became harder to migrate. Asylum seekers were the next minority in the 1990's. They arrived mainly from Bosnia and Afghanistan. Immigration and Asylum Acts were passed in 1993, 1996 and 1999. These laws have made it harder for refugees to seek asylum in Britain and also changed the rights that they have as asylum seekers.
For example, they are no longer allowed to work or claim benefits. Asylum seekers can also be deported and sent to detention centres or prison on illegal arrival to Britain. British people believe that their level of tolerance towards the asylum seekers is really being tried. According to a survey carried out by Readers Digest Magazine of 2000, 63% believed that too much was being done in aid of asylum seekers. British people also believed that asylum seekers were given priority in areas such as housing and social services.
However others believe that these attitudes are present because of hostile reporting in the media. In 1993 there has been increasing levels of violence in Britain. Paul Condon of the Metropolitan Police, in a speech at a conference on fairness in February, declared that police officers had to be "totally intolerant" of racially motivated attacks, as there was twelve racially motivated murders in 1993. In July, Peter Lloyd, minister of state in the Home Office, said that racial attacks could have been twenty times higher if they were all reported. The British Crime Survey registered 7,793 attacks in 1993.
This was 78% higher than the 1988 figures, but this is probably due the fact that there was a bigger multicultural society in the 1990's than the 1880's. Another act of intolerance was when the candidate of the neo-Nazi British Party was elected to a local council seat in the East End of London. His racist supporters celebrated by hurling bottles at anti-Nazi supporters. Although an analysis of the Labour Force Survey found well qualified Indian, African Asian and Chinese men to be as likely as white men to hold professional jobs, the situation for Afro-Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities is not so.
From 1988-1990 unemployment rates for these groups were; white 7%, Afro-Caribbean 14%, Pakistani 22% and Bangladeshi 24%. However these could not necessarily be racially motivated. Certain events like the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 and the Macpherson enquiry also questioned British tolerance. This was due to the fact of it being a racially motivated murder. The Macpherson enquiry concluded that the police were also racists, however the Metropolitan Police Commissioner disagreed and did apologise to the Lawrence family for the failure of the police. Britain also has a long tradition of religious tolerance.
This feature has been particularly advantageous since the 1980's, when a large variety of religious beliefs migrated to Britain. Britain has accepted large communities of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. Muslims have come to Britain from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Cyprus, Malaysia, Africa and the Arab world. Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists have mainly come from India. The British have been extremely tolerant because although Britain follows Christianity they have allowed the freedom of anyone to follow any religion they wish. Some English have even converted and intermarried and many help these religions in aid all around the world.
Britain has also allowed Mosques, Temples and Synagogues to be built and have given these religions freedom to spread their word. Britain have also encouraged the study of these religions and allowed private schools to be built. Learning other languages besides English has also become an option in many schools. Mosque Synagogue Britain has included people from different cultures, races and origins to play a part in politics and become MP's, mayors and Lords. They care when parties like the BNP gain seats in elections and help in doing something about it.
Immigrant shave also set up businesses that prosper and varieties of food have also been introduced. In conclusion from my studies, for saying how far Britain has been a tolerant nation, I think they have been a tolerant nation very far. Although there has been significant evidence of unfavourable attitudes and hostile treatment that immigrants and refugees have endured in Britain, there has always been tolerance because they have passed laws to ensure that everyone is treated equally. An important factor is that if Britain had been an intolerant nation then surely immigration would have stopped by now.