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‘Good Citizens? Ugandan Asians, Volunteers and ‘Race’ Relations in 1970s Britain’ by Becky Taylor.

The article by Becky Taylor is divided into three sections and overall discusses the Ugandan Resettlement in 1970s Britain following after they were expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin in 1972. In this article the author argues that paying attention to such small moments not only lies within the wider tradition of micro history but offers a way to synthesize concerns more often associated with post-war British history than with neglected histories of refugees and forcibly displaced populations. The author also uses these events in order to analyse the relationship between post-colonialism and the idea of citizenship and voluntarism.


Following the introduction which set the scene of the resettlement, the first section of the article speaks about the history of settlement of citizens from British ex-colonies, especially that of Kenyan Asians in the late 1960s. The author discusses the effect of settlement of ex-colonial individuals by focusing on this impact on British legislation and link the arrival of Kenyan Asians to the rushed passing on the 1968 Commonwealth Immigration Act, which was later strengthened by the 1971 Act. In this section, the author also speaks of the impact of the Act in terms of the settlement of Ugandan refugees, who were no longer entitled to an automatic right of entry into the UK. Within section one, Taylor also outlines the responsibilities of the Ugandan Resettlement Board who were in charge of the delivering the government’s reception and resettlement scheme. Finally, the author in this section outlines the important of charity and voluntary organisations in the support of refugees.


In section two, the author focuses more on the experiences of Ugandan refugees from their arrival at one of London’s three designated airports, to their experiences within resettlement camps. The author highlights the Boards’ emphasis on the involvement of retired administrators from ex-colonies. The article then speaks of the problems faced within camps when the process of resettlement turned out to be slower than expected by the Government and the Board, such as that of over-occupation. It is due to problems such as these that the author argues volunteers were of high importance within the camps for the support of refugees.


The final section of the article focusses on the enquiry into the role of the Greenham camp and the dismissal of Diane Woods, who was said to be at hear of the establishment of a social centre involving volunteers and expellees – which the older expellees, as well as the Board did not approval of. This section also talks about the depiction of expellees which was based partially on the basis of racism, which gave the camp residents very little room for challenging the conditions within the camps.


Overall, the article is very informative and bases a lot of its knowledge on statistics as well as information provided by other historians.

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