We all wear our passports on our faces

From the 1948 Nationality Act until now there has been a tension in the UK between those who belong and those who do not and the added tension of governments wanting outside labour power but not the social cost of ‘the immigrant’. And, by and large, laws, ad hoc discrimination, media demonisation and miseducation have all served to inculcate – at different times and for differing purposes – the notion that we are a homogenous white nation into which undeserving interlopers have somehow wandered. At a time of globalisation such nativist notions are even more pronounced. And, as shown in the Windrush episode, the idea that black people have been here and built up this county for generations, is still contested. In such a climate Sivanandan argued, people will inevitably not distinguish between a black settler, an ‘illegal immigrant’ and a refugee. ‘We all wear our passports on our faces’.