Ghost in the British white flight story?

big_ben.jpgIt was one of the most interesting stories in Great Britain this last week.

No, no, no, not that story.

Not even this one.

I’m talking about that Migrationwatch UK report containing the giant religion ghost that the MSM over there did not want to deal with (unless I am missing something with my online searches).

Here is the full text of a Nic Cecil story in The Sun. Read it all, then we can play spot the ghost.

Tens of thousands of white families are pouring out of UK cities as immigrants move in, a controversial new report claims. The exodus is creating an increasingly divided society, says the study for independent think-tank Migrationwatch UK.

It found that 600,000 more people left London for the regions between 1993-2002 than arrived in the capital from elsewhere in Britain. Those moving out were believed to be mainly white. In the same decade, the number of immigrants arriving in London went up by 726,000.

Migrationwatch said there were similar changes in Manchester and Birmingham. Chairman Sir Andrew Green said: “The development of increasingly parallel societies in some of our major cities is extremely undesirable. Government immigration policy is exacerbating this trend.”

The report follows a study for the Greater London Authority last year which showed the proportion of whites in London fell by almost eight per cent in the 1990s.

Want another clue? Here is a BBC report on the same subject. What’s missing in this scenario? The ghost is not the whole story, but it is certainly part of the story.

Spot the ghost?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • John Granger

    The articles mention racial, ethnic, economic, and educational differences between those moving in and those moving out of the larger UK cities but not their religious beliefs. I’m not sure if this constitutes a “ghost” but it raises the question of whether this is “blue” liberal white flight from increasingly “red” cities – and red not so much in the comforting and familiar hue of conservative white Anglo-Catholic Christians but that of orthodox Muslims and Hindus and evangelical Orientals (sic).

    Am I close? I worry I don’t understand the sort of ghost I’m looking for…

  • tmatt

    If anyone is confused about our definition of a religion-beat “ghost”, please read GetReligion’s very first post:

  • Brian Lewis

    I worry about the sort of ghost I may be seeing and Terry isn’t doing much elaborating here.

    Surely we’re seeing traditional beliefs moving in, most like Muslims, but maybe also Antiochian Orthodox or Catholic… It’s unclear to me if the people moving in are Arabs or Africans or people from the Caribbean. Generally though, Arabs, AFricans and Caribbean (sp?) folk are much more religious than Western society. Especially the general populace in big cities like New York, London, etcetera.

    But are the people moving out religious or non-religious? Are they xenophobic? Do they not like their darker-skinned new neighbors? I hate to ask if there’s a race-relations ghost as well as a religion ghost.

    Are churches in what the article calls the regions seeing an increase in worship numbers?

    Please expand on what we’re supposed to see, Professor Mattingly.

  • Brad

    I’m sure the ghost referred to here is the same one that has been mentioned more explicitly in stories about migration all over Europe…people from Muslim countries, mostly northern Africa (Algeria, Morocco, etc.) have been flooding major parts of Europe and bringing their very traditional, sometimes militant Islam with them.

    Europe’s not a secular society, like everyone thinks, but the new religion isn’t the same as the old religion, from all I’ve read.


  • Bartholomew

    Yes, moving to suburbia remains an attraction for British people who can afford it. But not so much for ethnic minorities, who perhaps fear racism or the lack of community support. And new immigrants head for urban areas where networks are already in place. Therefore what?

  • Locutus Est

    The immigrants are not just Muslims and Hindus. There are also large numbers of Anglicans from Africa – quite conservative ones at that.

  • dw

    Based on my year living in the UK, here’s my guess:

    The people leaving the cities are not religious.

    The people moving into the cities are.

    I heard, once upon a time, that around 10% of all Brits attend church on a regular basis. Compare that with the nearly 50% in our country. The people moving inside the M25 are non-white, but they’re also more likely to be religious, and not just Muslim or Hindi, but also Protestants and Catholics.

    There is a lot of racism in the UK, but it’s just not at the surface, and no one likes to acknowledge the finger they point at the US has three fingers pointed back at them. The Brits’ post-WWII anathema to religion plays into this. They’re afraid of being evangelized as well as being mugged or shot. So, it’s off to Reading or Milton Keynes or some other distant burb.