Stop and look around you. Do you recognise England today? Is this the country you were born in, grew to love and have always been grateful to be a part of? If you cannot honestly answer “no” to all of that, then you have company. Step forward actor Terence Stamp.
“It’s very sad how few English people there are in London now,” the Hollywood star told the Daily Mail, before going on to lament what he sees as a lack of integration among some immigrants.
“When I grew up in East London everyone seemed to speak English, and now you can barely get by speaking our own language.”
Stamp is no isolated “Little Englander”. The 76-year-old has carved a career in Hollywood and been a staple feature of stage and screen around the world for over half a century. His words came on reflection after seeing his native land change almost out of recognition over the period of his life, even down to the simple act of shopping.
Put simply, Stamp now feels like a stranger in an even stranger land.
“I don’t live in the East any more, but I absolutely love mangoes and so occasionally I go back there to buy these wonderful Alphonso mangoes from the market on Green Street. I’m lucky if I can buy one now at all because no one speaks English.
“It’s changed so much in such a short space of time, that God knows what London will be like in another decade or so.”
The change has not just come at the fruit market. Stamp sees it on the streets of London and is happy to call out the conceit of government mandated multiculturalism for what it is.
“You see these mums wandering around with their prams and four out of five of them have these scarves wrapped around their heads. I feel like it’s not London any more; not the one I used to know anyway.
“I do think a multicultural society can be a good thing, but when it’s at the cost of your own culture and history, then it’s gone too far and it would be very sad if London stopped being predominantly English.’”
Statistics back Stamp’s observations. January 2013 census statistics showed that 78 per cent of the capital’s residents speak English as their main language. But the remaining 22 per cent — equivalent to just over 1.7 million people — have another first language. Of these, nearly 320,000 say that they cannot speak English well or at all.
The most common other language after English in London is Polish, spoken as the main language by nearly two per cent of residents, followed by Bengali, Gujarati, French, Urdu and Arabic.
These language speakers are part of one of the great migrations in history with UK Migration Statistics Quarterly revealing in February that net long-term migration to the UK was estimated to be 298,000 in the year ending September 2014, a statistically significant increase from 210,000 in the previous 12 months.
That number will continue to grow as long as Britain remains in the EU and has no control over its once sovereign borders.
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