'A Stranger Where I Live'

Critical newspaper article about Acton is condemned


Forum: Provocative Article in Telegraph re Acton

In Defence of Acton - Angie Bray Responds

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A provocative article about Acton, published in the Telegraph, has led to claims of racism and xenophobia from local residents.

Headlined ' I feel like a stranger where I live', Jane Kelly's feature on the impact of mass immigration focuses on W3 - where she has lived since 1996 - but says she will now be moving from.

Ms Kelly, consulting editor of The Salisbury Review - says the streets around Acton, have taken on a new identity, with many Muslims now owning local shops, and she adds: '' It seems that almost overnight it’s changed from Acton Vale into Acton Veil.''

The author claims she suffered discrimination in a curtain shop and feels isolated in Acton: '' .. because so many Muslims increasingly insist on emphasising their separateness, it feels as if they have taken over.''

She concludes: '' It’s sad that I am moving not for a positive reason, but to escape something. I wonder whether I’ll tell the truth, if I’m asked.... But really I no longer need an excuse: mass immigration is making reluctant racists of us all.''

The article has been condemned by W3 forum members who have described it as 'offensive racist drivel'  and 'bigotry - hidden behind a pretence of being a "reasonable" argument.'

Chair of Churchfield Community Association, Sara Nathan, has written to the Telegraph's Letters' editor, and says the piece does not fairly reflect the area. She asks: '' Where has the contributing editor to the Salisbury Review been living? Within her own blinkers? Certainly not on my patch.''

Journalist and local resident, Toby Young, says Ms Kelly is wrong about W3:

'' I don't recognise the picture of Acton Jane Kelly draws. Yes, there are some Muslim shops on the Vale, but then there are also Indian shops, Thai shops, Polish shops. It's a genuinely multi-cultural area and all of the different ethnic groups rub along remarkably well together. Let's not forget, there was no rioting in Acton in the summer of 2011.

''I also think she's wrong about white people leaving the area as a result of immigration. Since I moved in five years ago, several white, middle-class families have moved into my street. There's no doubt the area's undergoing a process of gentrification and you can see this in the gradual transformation of Churchfield Road.

''I hope Jane Kelly sticks around and I look forward to seeing her at the cheese counter of the new Waitrose that I'm confident will open on Churchfield Road in the next couple of years.''

What do you think? Join the discussion on the W3 Forum


30th January 2013

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