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Furious response after millionaire Arron Banks “who bought Brexit” describes Bristol as ‘Little Somalia’ – Bristol post

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A controversial businessman who ‘bought Brexit’ has been mocked on social media for suggesting that ‘Bristol looks like Little Somalia’.

Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy has told UKIP-funding businessman Arron Banks he would not be welcome in her constituency after what appears to be his own ‘Fox News moment’.

Mr Banks, whose ‘Leave.EU’ campaign is under investigation by the Electoral Commission, tweeted late on Sunday night that his home city “looks like little Somalia. Sod all integration and horrendous problems”.

But that tweet brought something of a backlash from people in Bristol, with many challenging his view, and others mocking it.

Management development trainer Phil Sweet tweeted: “You’ve obviously never been to Bristol recently then Mr Banks! #talkingutternonsense.”

Hatpin Drill added: “Would this be Bristol that is repeatedly voted the best city to live in, in UK. That politically has virtually no right-wing presence and thrives on its multiculturalism? That Bristol?”

Another twitter user, ‘Angry Adams’, replied: “Which area of Bristol are you talking about? I don’t recognise any of your descriptions in anywhere I go there.”

Mr Banks has a mansion home just outside Bristol, near Thornbury, and the bulk of his businesses are based near Cribbs Causeway, where the Leave.EU campaign was run.

His remarks were compared to the erroneous description of Birmingham by one American Fox News ‘expert’ earlier this year who said large parts of England’s second city were ‘no-go zones’ for non-Muslims.

That claim was rapidly debunked, but Mr Banks’ claim was also mocked on Twitter.

Mike Griff said: “One of my favourite things about Bristol. There’s a great Somali café round the corner from where I work. Beautiful people.”

And Twitter user Martin added: “My favourite thing about Bristol is that Banks only pretends to live here.”

Take a stroll down any high street in a city in the UK doofus ,Bristol looks like little Somalia.Sod all integration and horrendous problems

Ingobousa tweeted two pictures of what appeared to be a Somali pirate on a beach next to a wrecked ship, and a war-ravaged Mogadishu, and captioned it: “Right on! Look what they have done to Clifton and Severn Beach!”

Others labelled Mr Banks a ‘snowflake’ for being upset at seeing people of a different skin colour on the odd occasion he goes into Bristol, while others said they would report the businessman for inciting racial hatred.

Bristol’s Somali community
  • There have been people from Somalia living in Bristol for decades, possibly centuries, given its history as a global trading port, but the modern day arrival of Somali refugees in Bristol largely took place around 20 years ago.
  • From the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, around 5,000 Somali refugees arrived in Bristol and were granted asylum because of the savage civil war and famine that devastated their homeland.
  • The most recent estimate puts the number of Somalis living in Bristol at around 10,000, although there is no precise number, mainly because the Somali population are not identified as a separate ethnic group in the most recent census of 2011.
  • A report on Bristol’s diverse population in 2014 said that ‘the best estimate we can make of the number of Somalis living in Bristol is 10,000’.
  • But that number appears to include the Bristol-born children who have grown up with Somali parents in the city over the past 20 years. For while the council estimates there could be 10,000 Somalis in Bristol, there are officially only 5,004 people in Bristol who speak Somali as their first language.
  • Even if the population is as high as 10,000, that is still only 2.2 per cent of the total population of Bristol – currently put at 454,200 by the city council – or one in every 45 people. The fact a large proportion are Bristol-born children of Somali-born parents is borne out by school figures – there are 2,853 Bristol-born ethnic Somali children at Bristol’s 150 schools.
  • The number of births in Bristol to mothers born in Somalia was negligible in 1995, rose steadily in the years after the war to more than 300 a year in 2006, but began to decline from 2008, and the Somali population has remained small ever since.
  • White British people in Bristol outnumber Somali people in Bristol by 40 to one.
  • The Somali community of just 10,000 at most is concentrated into one or two inner-city areas of east Bristol, albeit where it is still in the minority.
  • Those areas – in the wards of Lawrence Hill and Easton – are among the most impoverished and deprived in the country, and along with everyone else living there, the Somali community in Bristol suffers from a range of issues stemming from that poverty, from health and life expectancy to educational outcomes and employment prospects.

With the first and second generation of Bristol’s Somali community now well-established, the Post regularly reports on instances of neighbours supporting members of the Somali community.

Campaigners from tenants' rights group ACORN Bristol try to stop a 'revenge eviction' of a mum and her children
Campaigners from tenants’ rights group ACORN Bristol try to stop a ‘revenge eviction’ of a mum and her children

In 2016, dozens of neighbours of all faiths and races linked arms in front of the home of a Somali family who had lived in an Easton street for 12 years, in protest at a ‘revenge eviction’ by a landlord.

Nimo Subayr and Afra Parsons
Nimo Subayr and Afra Parsons

Earlier this year, a huge community campaign prompted a council U-turn on a decision to re-house a Somali family who had lived in Southville for 13 years.

Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy gave Mr Banks’ claim that the whole of Bristol was ‘Little Somalia’ short shrift on Twitter.

“Somalis and other refugee communities are welcome in East Bristol. Arron Banks isn’t,” she said.

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