Migration is the most controversial political topic in the Britain of 2018. Issues around migration underpinned and informed much of the BREXIT debate and infuse wider debates about Britishness and identity. Yet migration and the immigrant communities it has created are also the focus of a huge amount of new research, scholarship and awareness. For Britain’s black community expanded knowledge of, and pride in, the longer histories of their communities – histories that stretch back far beyond 1945 – is now at odds with this new mood. History itself is being contested as some nationalist voices seek to dismiss historical fact and counter research with opinion and ‘alternative facts’. Two conflicting and contradictory visions of British history and identity, and the role of migration in forging them, are beginning to develop.
David Olusoga is an Anglo-Nigerian historian, broadcaster and author. Amongst other work, David presented and produced BAFTA award winning Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners for the BBC , in collaboration with UCL , and was the winner of the Pen Hessell-Tiltman prize for his most recent book which accompanied the TV series of the same name, Black and British: a Forgotten History.