I grew up just outside a small market town in the sixties and seventies. It was a bit like Midsummer (but without the murders) and very middle to upper class in make-up, so was a safe Tory seat (and still is). I lived in one of the small council estates and went to school which was frankly set in the middle of nowhere with just a couple of houses a shop and pub in the near vicinity.
There were no black or Asian kids in my school or where I lived and the only racism I ever noticed was directed at gypsies (or travellers, not sure they were Romany's). Some people including a couple of class mates liked Enoch Powell even though there was not an immigrant in site.
My first encounter with a black person was around the age of 16 or 17 at a disco in the local Nurses home where they had a club. My reaction was one of a typical not-so-worldly-wise youth and saw her as exotic rather than any kind of intrusion or threat.
As I grew older I came to realise the influence of black music on the bands I listened to such as Led Zeppelin who were heavily guided by the blues. Indian or more precisely Bangladeshi culture was introduced to me by the opening of a curry house.
All small town stuff in an age that has more or less passed by.
Only when I started Polytechnic in London did I really begin to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures. I hesitate to use the word "race", because I have long learnt that despite our differences we are all human beings.
Migration and the movement of people has always been part of human history. Each wave brought with it changes, mostly gradual though wars and persecution often caused people to flee at a quicker pace than normal causing concern as societies developed, changed and sometimes were slow to adapt and integrate.
Today most countries have some form of immigration control and probably rightly so. As long as the selection is not based on "race", most people would have have no problem with that. However the current wave of mass immigration is proving divisive across Europe and nobody was prepared for the sheer weight of numbers that have started arriving.
In particular Germany has developed an open door policy, not just to the consternation of it's neighbours but some of of it's own inhabitants and in one case the problem is frankly obvious.
The Times reports of the problems about to be faced by the small town of Sumte in Germany. It has a population of just 102, no shop, no school and no police station. Even the nearest supermarket was over four miles away with only a limited bus service available. It was expected to take in no less than 1,000 migrants.
Predictably the locals were none too happy and amongst other things it was discovered after an investigation even the local sewage system couldn't cope with so many people.
The number was dropped to 750.
The problem remains that the villagers will be outnumbered seven to one by newcomers almost overnight. Coming from a small, though much larger country town I can sympathise with their plight. It's not because these people are foreigners, it's because their way of life will be destroyed in an instant.
The bureaucrat who thought this up should be moved elsewhere methinks. This just isn't practical and is the sort of thing that will feed the growing far-right, not just in Germany but elsewhere.
For once the fears of a community are justified, but the problem is not with the migrants but the idiots who thought that placing a thousand new arrivals in a country hamlet was a good idea.