Poetry: Migrant Britain: A Forgotten History

Inspired by ‘Building The Building Society’ by Jo Bell

A land built on immigration, England 1952.
A new world dawns, the winds have changed.
Smog chokes Churchill’s pride, a haze of accents
across Elysian Fields, dazed by Hitler’s war.

The West Indians, the Irish, the Africans, the Polish
ready to work, and more looking for shelter, but
tenants say “no Irish or Blacks”, as they spew relaxed
facts about how they singlehandedly defeated the

Nazis from the comfort of their lounge armchair.
If you want a home, you pet the drooping bulldog.
You need your money, as the the rich profit from
the poor – some ideologies are written in stone.

The homeless, the refugee, the war veteran.
Everybody matters. Don’t you think so?
United we stand; divided we fall – don’t
build a wall or a fence – use common sense.

The Muslims, the Syrian refugees, everyone. Celebrate,
diversity, race and culture in the helter-skelter of the
the modern age. To evict them means thousands of
deaths and I’ll defend them until my last breath.

This country is more than just a multicrossed cloth.
We’re not united, we’re not a kingdom – we’re
not great and we never have been – we’re not
perfect but we make do and carry on.

Immigrants built this nation, from squat – like
the slaves who built Buckingham Palace and
the black nurses who saved the NHS whilst the
Irish expanded the car industry. We owe them.

Britain needs immigrants, to survive and develop.
We need their skills, their experiences, their stories.
Not the Tories’ fear and intolerance to difference
because humanity always fears what is different.

Stand up, unite. We’ll climb the mountain and
fight the good fight, every battle – every plight.
We should all have a say; we all have a voice.
Together, we must make the right choice.

A poem by Tré Ventour