Sin,—Thank you for Colin MacInnes's excellent, sensitive and comprehensive piece
on the New British. One feels tremendous sympathy with the objects of his concern.
Unhappily these do not include the natives of this country, especially those living in places—like parts of Deptford—where there is little beauty and no hope, and which now have to bear the burden of the new waves of immigration.
If you live in Deptford, or similar places, the chances are that you lead a quiet, orderly life in hideous surroundings. If you think about these things it must seem that you live in a forgotten corner of Victorian England at its worst.
Suddenly your street is, more or less, taken over by West Indians. They may be pleasant or unpleas- ant, but they are certainly different. Given the strait-jacket narrowness of your own existence this is a shock. They have vastly different standards and habits, the effect of which cannot be lightly dis- missed, as by Mr. MacInnes.
They are often the victims of property racketeers of both kinds, i.e., European and Afro-Asian. They, in turn, often torment elderly Londoners to get them out of their homes, to permit overcrowding by their own friends and contacts, to meet the excessive interest rates that they have accepted.
I mention these realities to show you that there are solid grounds for 'colour prejudice,' and to illus- trate the problems facing the old-established residents of some of our less attractive neighbour- hoods.
There is a risk that the concern for the immigrants, which is both fashionable and wholly right, should lead us to take less than adequate interest in those whose lot it is both to live in grim misery already, and to bear the full load of social and housing dislocation caused by the immigrants. I suggest that this is a more insidious form of colour prejudice, directed against our own people, by those in more comfortable circumstances, and remote from the scene of the trouble. When we have solved that, by increasing the supply of reasonably-priced noosing by specially fixed interest rates, as Nicholas Davenport so wisely The root of the problem is, of course, housing.
suggests in the same issue of the Spectator, then we shall find the New British and the Old living in har-
Deptford Conservative Association. 241 Lewisham Way, 5E4