LONDONISM WHO ARE THE LONDONERS
Economic pessimism and negative attitude against immigration There are six “identity” tribes in the British society. There are: confident multiculturalists (8% of the population), mainstream liberals (16% of the population), identity ambivalent (28%), cultural integrationists (24%), latent hostiles (10%) and active enmity (13%). The “middle ground” of British politics is occupied by two of these group : the cultural integrationists, motivated by authority and order; and identity ambivalent, who are concerned about their economic security and social change. Together they make up 52% of the population.
The economic crisis is one of the main current preoccupations of Londoners today and change their views and feelings about immigration. Reports reveal a clear correlation between economic pessimism and negative attitude against immigration. The more pessimistic people are about their own economic situation and the prospects for the future, the more hostile their attitudes are to new and old immigrants. A new politics of identity, culture and nation has grown out of the politics of race and immigration, and is increasingly the opinion driver in modern British politics.
Example of the Brazilian immigration Even if Brazil is now one of the world’s fastest growing major economies, some Brazilians prefer to leave their country to live in North America and in Europe. An important Brazilian community is settled in the Kent. The community has seen a rapid growth in size over recent years, with the number of people born in Brazil resident in the UK increasing by almost 700% between 1991 and 2009.
“a desire of discovering the world” Brazilians came to the UK from the 1980’s onward to study. But once they arrived some discovered that the major cities (e.g.: London) ethnic and cultural diversity offered more professional opportunities. Motivations change with time. In 2001, some researches showed that there were also noneconomics reasons for coming, such as “a desire of discovering the world”. Other researches in 2002 found that Brazilians had been motivated to come to London by economic gain as well as access to public infrastructure (e.g.: benefits and services), and also the desire to acquire knowledge or gain experience. The Brazilians who took part in the English survey gave various reasons for coming to the UK, such as: “for a better future back home”; “for a better life for my children”; “to develop professionally”; “to build my life here”; “to practice my profession”…
Office for National statistics estimates recorded 9301 Brazilians born living in the UK in 1991; 15215 in 2001 and 13000 in 2004. They suggest that there were 60000 Brazilian born people resident in the UK in 2009. Several guess mates of the current Brazilian population in the UK put the number at around 200 000.
Despite being relatively well educated, the majority of Brazilian immigrants have taken up professions that differ greatly from their previous career in Brazil. They choose jobs that are for the most part unskilled and low-paid. The reasons behind this include restrictions imposed by their immigration status and lack of knowledge of the English language.
A Brazilian festival in March 2009, Golborne Road, Notting Hill
To know a bit more about what really is to be a Londoner today, we interviewed two of them.
How did your adventure begin? I arrived in London eleven years ago and at this moment I could not say a single word in English. Despite of this handicap, I found a job thanks to the Brazilian community which was settled in London. I was a waitress in a Brazilian/Portuguese restaurant. It was the beginning of my integration into Londonâ€™s society. Are you still a waitress? (She laughs). No I am not anymore. Actually I am studying journalism.
Adriana, 27 years old comes from Sao Paulo. She arrived in London in 2007
According to you, which motivations a young foreigner who wants to settle to London should have? First you have to have a crush for this city before coming and then you have to fall in love with it! Seriously you do not come here if it is just in order to get money. Do you think what you have done could happen again if you arrived today? No I do not think so. I reckon I have been lucky; I arrived at the good moment. But things have changed; it is not the same context anymore. Today England undergoes a crisis, just like the other countries in Europe. It must be the same in France: it is not easy to find a job and it is even harder when you are a migrant.
Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II In 2012, the United-Kingdom and the other members of the Commonwealth celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Over a long weekend, Great Britain will once more witness colour and ceremony. The Diamond Jubilee Pageant will flow along the Thames in a flotilla of a thousand beautifully dressed boats, whilst family, friends and neighbours will be encouraged to join together in a Big Jubilee Lunch. Fires will herald the nation’s joy – then bonfires, now beacons – shining their lights around the entire British island. Elizabeth II is more respected than appreciated. Indeed, people do not know a lot about her person: she is introvert, shy, cold and distant. Although the Queen is still popular because she sticks to her role: she is a symbol, the commandant of the armies, the head of Anglican Church and the leader of the Commonwealth. She does not take part of the current political debates and English people appreciate this distance. Moreover she never says her political opinions: she has never expressed her thought about the Euro crisis and will never express it. Monarchy is still a strong institution. Contrary to Justice, Economics or Policy which undergoes a crisis, the Royal Family keeps being a symbol of safety and constancy.
What do you think about the Olympic Games? What do English people think about them? It must be the biggest event of the year for Londoners! Well, I get informed about this event but I do not know what I should think about it. I am more excited by the jubilee! [nota bene: England is celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II from the 2nd to the 5th of June]. But I will be more excited when the Olympic Games start! Do you know what is the population’s opinion about it? It is hard to say, there is not only one opinion. A lot of money has been circulating to prepare the Games and some people think that all this money would be more useful to Greece in the current context. A last question: what do you think about France? Paris is nice. I have learned something about how behaving with French people when you are lost. First you have to say “Je ne parle pas français” and then you can start talking in English. If you do that, French are very helpful!
You must know London very well. Would you advise to a foreigner living here ?
Alan, 71 year-old Englishman, has always lived in London. He was born in the north of the city The Olympic Games’ bill Londoners are afraid to pay the bill of the event: £ 8.000 have been spent to build new stadiums £ 644 millions have been invested for the security. 23 000 police agents will be mobilised to guarantee the security during the two weeks. The total budget for Olympics has blown up: £ 13 milliard instead of £ 3 milliards originally announced when the United Kingdom applied.
The problem is not about the lifestyle, but more about the fact that London is a very expensive city. So if you want to come and live there, you must have enough money for that. Really ? But a lot of young people from foreign countries live in London. Yes, but they are very skilled. Most of them study medicine or law for example. And above all, they all speak English very well Talking about that, do Londoners and English people learn other languages ? London is a melting pot. As a matter of fact, many people speak at least two languages. At the school where I studied when I was young, some children even learn English as a secondary language! But as for me, I only speak English. You know, you can be understood everywhere if you speak English. (he laughs) It’s not a stereotype, in our country, people tend to content with their language. And what do you think about France ?
Honestly I’ve never been there, so I don’t know much about it. I don’t travel a lot. But maybe one day I’ll go there, it sounds interesting.
Londoners’ worries about the Olympics The Olympic Games are a great event but generates worries for Londoners, Londoners are afraid to have problems with the public transports. the Jubilee line, which links the most important sites of the Olympic Games has had the worst results of breaks and other problems in 2011. Advertisings announce that Londoners should use the other metro lines or ride bikes to let Tourists use the line. Moreover, syndicates threaten to make a strike to get higher wages. And as if it was not enough, taxis reclaim the right to increase their prices of 22%.
For Londoners, the Olympic games are probably the event of the year. What do you think about them ? We spend too much money for that. Our financial situation with the crisis doesn’t allow us to waste £13 billions. We just interviewed a young woman who thought that this money could be useful to Greece, do you agree with that ? Well, maybe, but I think the thing they have to do to come out of their problems is to come out of the European Union.