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Top travel writer slams Brits for shunning Blacks, Asians

Mike Parker has criticised such people for using rural Wales as a haven to "get away from multi-cultural society".

india Updated: Dec 29, 2003 12:18 IST

English racists are heading towards Wales. The reason, it is claimed, is that these racists are trying to get away from Pakistanis and Indians.

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The claim has been backed up by a leading travel writer. Mike Parker, editor of the Rough Guide to Wales, has criticised such people for using rural Wales as a place to "get away from multi-cultural society". A growing number of English racists are said to be moving from Liverpool, London, Manchester and the Midlands.



Attacking racists, Parker, who himself moved from Birmingham some years ago, said: "The common defining feature is that their principal reason for leaving the English cities was to get away from multi-cultural society, from black and Asian people in particular, and they see rural Wales, with its largely white population, as a safe haven.

"To some extent, rural Wales has become the British equivalent of the American mountains inhabited by a sprinkling of paranoid conspiracy theorists, gun-toting final solution crackpots and anti-government obsessives."

Making his observations while editing the Rough Guide to Wales two years ago, Parker said: "I have lost count of the number of times when people from England who have spoken to me in pubs and shops have made racist remarks like, 'Isn't it nice here without the Pakis?'. They notice I have a Midlands accent and immediately assume I am going to share their prejudice."

Following Dafydd Iwan's speech at the National Eisteddfod, which is causing a political storm, Parker has questioned the willingness of Wales wanting to play host to people like Nick Griffin of the British National Party.

Criticising Iwan's comments a Labour spokesman immediately said his words were "reminiscent" of statements by the BNP leader. "This is a pretty crass attempt to brand English people moving into rural Wales as racists, hiding behind the fig leaf that this is what people say.

"Dafydd Iwan's comments are alarmingly reminiscent of Nick Griffin's 'White Flight' remarks a couple of years ago. Plaid Cymru condemned those remarks then - they should do so now."

But Iwan claimed: "Nick Griffin, a convicted racist, is on record as saying that he came to Wales because he didn't want to bring up his children in the multi-cultural and multi-ethnic cities of England. A tiny number of people in Wales share his views. These people cannot and will not support the creation of the kind of society we want to see. Those were the people I was attacking in my speech."