No dogs. No blacks. No Irish. That was the text of the “welcome” signs my Jamaican grandfather and his generation saw in many storefronts and other establishments in 1950s and 60s England. This was despite my grandfather and his peers having fought for King and country in the Second World War.
Then, incredibly, things got worse. “In this country in 15 or 20 years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man,” Enoch Powell thundered to a Wolverhampton hall in 1968. Powell was relaying the concerns of a supposedly “middle-aged” white constituent, a man the then-Conservative minister considered an “ordinary working man”.