The "diversification" of Hartlepool

In 2018, the main issues that dominated local politics in Hartlepool were the crime rate, council tax, and the leadership of the local Labour party. These issues are not likely to go away in 2019, but Hartlepool will face a new challenge in the New Year, and that is immigration.

In 2018, the main issues that dominated local politics in Hartlepool were the crime rate, council tax, and the leadership of the local Labour party. These issues are not likely to go away in 2019, but Hartlepool will face a new challenge in the New Year, and that is immigration.

For many years immigration has had a major impact on large towns and cities across the UK. According to The Migration Observatory: ‘Between 2004 – 2017 the foreign born population in the UK more than doubled from 5.3 million to around 9.4 million’.  A consequence of this is that places like London, Birmingham, Bradford and Slough have seen segregation and ‘white flight’, while local British people often feel like strangers in a Britain that is no longer theirs.

Hartlepool has largely escaped mass immigration in recent years, but that is now changing. Some people and organisations downplay or welcome the changes that migration will bring to Hartlepool, but for others, this is why they voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.  That makes little difference however, as police, education, and media continue to celebrate 'diversity' and select headlines that present the false notion that immigration is not a growing concern.   

Hartlepool Asylum Seeker and Refugee Group held ‘Hartlepool Diversity Day’ in October 2018 with the support of the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner.

In 2017, students from Hartlepool 6th Form College helped make a positive film on immigration in the town, with support from the Borough Council Youth Service.

Meanwhile, the Hartlepool Mail published an article on how immigration is slowing down since the EU referendum. This is not quite the full story though, because despite the headlines, the number of migrants in Hartlepool since the referendum has still been growing: because it is at a slightly slower pace, does not change that.

Despite its problems, Hartlepool, for now, feels and looks British, but there are signs that this is not to last. In the not too distant future, it can’t be ruled out that mass immigration will have the same impact on Hartlepool that it has had on towns and cities like London, Birmingham, Bradford and Slough.

 

Karen King, For Britain Hartlepool

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