Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Getting London’s Ibero-Americanos Mobilised

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 10th May, 2014

Minka NewsThe Spanish- and Portuguese-speakers in London claim to be the capital’s largest ethnic minority, self-estimating to be about 10 per cent of the population, and it’s not hard to believe when one sees the vibrancy of the Portuguese in Lambeth, the Spanish across the capital, the Latin American Hispanics in Elephant and Castle and the Brazilians just about everywhere, etc. Just how many hundreds of thousands they amount to altogether is hard to gauge, as on top of those who are fully integrated into the system there is an unknown quantity of others who arrived, as students, tourists or whatever, and never quite left. Some years ago I spoke at a huge rally organised by London Citizens in Trafalgar Square, arguing that the position of undocumented migrants from Latin America should be regularised, not least so that their children can grow up secure in our society. Anyway, today I saw the other end of the spectrum: predominantly young business people from the Iberian (Spanish and Portuguese) and Latin American community — plus a good few from lusophone Africa — fizzing with entrepreneurship at a networking breakfast at a large and beautiful church complex in West Norwood, compered by my old friend from Minka News, Isaac Bigio. In the short speech I gave (in both languages) at the beginning of their proceedings (as a candidate in the current European elections), I stressed how important it is that all those who have European Union passports and who are registered to vote in London do so in order to help counter the populist xenophobia of UKIP and the more disreputable wing of the Conservative Party. I was fascinated over the breakfast to discover some of the new Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese publications just launched or about to appear in London. This is a phenomenally well-organised community on the way up and we can expect it to make its political voice increasingly heard.



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