What is Boston More in Common all about?
Boston More in Common started following on from BBC Radio 4’s programme ‘Two Rooms, ‘where a small group of Brexit voters from Boston (Boston being the highest proportion of leave voters) were in one room and a group from Lambeth (being the highest proportion of Remain Voters) were in the other. Each room discussed reasons on what had influenced their vote.
After the broadcast, the Boston group met the Lambeth Group and exchanged viewpoints. It was a warm and friendly environment with both parties respecting each other’s choices and reasons. This gave inspiration to Julian Thompson, (who runs a local Boston business), to come up with the idea of ways to pull different communities together in Boston. This was also in the wake of Jo Cox's untimely death and the message she left to us, which made us focus more on the fact that we have more in common than what divides us. Jo Cox is the inspiration for the name of the BMiC group, chosen by Julian in her memory, for a message of coming together which is what Boston so desperately needs.
A Town Divided
The media have constantly run stories portraying Boston in a bad light which in turn infuses hatred and fear between the different communities and local born, dividing the town further and lowering the moral of everyone who lives here. Boston More in Common was set up by Julian, with the help of likeminded people coming together from all walks of life and nationalities, to help turn this around. With a need to encourage and embrace the diversity of our town, change attitudes and encourage friendships between different nationalities. BMiC was launched in October via the setting up of a Facebook page. Lambeth suggested an exchange to fully appreciate our different living environments. A group of people from the Lambeth Group (Remainers) came to stay over as guests in Julian's home, who like the rest in the Boston Group was a Brexiteer.
Lambeth More in Common group became good friends, giving support and encouragement with inspiration on integration and cohesion, suggesting some ideas on how this can be achieved as Lambeth are years ahead of us in terms of integration and cohesion. Although, unlike Lambeth More in common, BMiC is not linked to ‘Hope not Hate’ or attached to any political agenda. BMiC are a separate group. We tend to steer away from politics so we can focus on integration and cohesion with respect for all the different nationalities living in Boston and the local born, regardless of political views. There may be the odd posting from ‘Hope Not Hate’ on our group page, if we feel it conveys an important message or thought process towards cohesion, but this does not mean we are part of that group or politically minded.
It's Time to Move Forward
Boston is still suffering from too much bad press by national newspapers which in turn does a lot of harm for the morale of the town, putting tourists off visiting and giving the town a bad name in general. Boston people and all nationalities living here need to work together to change this. Boston is a beautiful market town which was left to get on with mass migration, having to cope without expert help and financial support, which in turn caused much resentment with locals as well as issues between communities and overcrowded housing. Boston does not have the infrastructure or services to cope like the cities do. Our councils lacked the expertise and experience. They did not seem to get much support from the government on how to deal with this influx either.
Uncontrolled migration would have meant more houses of multiple occupation for Boston as well as more strain on our public services. Many Brexiteers wanted the UK to control this and to make its own laws. They also do not like the bureaucracy of the EU and its leaders. Again, the press constantly portrayed Boston in a bad light, inciting more resentment. It really does not matter who voted what in the referendum and why. What does matter is how we move forward together as a town.
Choose a Brighter Future
Boston is portrayed as a town split by different nationalities and local born. There is an ‘us and them’ attitude with some of the local born and among some of the different European communities. This must change to prevent our town going on a downward spiral. We cannot alter the past but we can make the best of what we have and make a choice on how to see the future of our town. Political views, rights and wrongs of the previous government are irrelevant, the past is done. There is a strong need for our town to work on what we have. Attitudes need to change away from hostility to a better understanding. We need to enable this town to build a strong community and sense of belonging for all those that live here. Alternatively, we risk living in a town which will have an even bigger divide with an ‘us and them’ attitude. A town that no tourists would want to visit. It makes sense to work towards the best for our town and all the people that live here. It stands to reason to try and prevent the town becoming a hostile and unfriendly place, which in turn will affect house prices and kill off businesses and our economy. No new businesses would be attracted to come here, let alone tourists. We don’t need to speak another language to smile or to be friendly towards another person, regardless of nationality. We can be part of the problem or part of the solution.
Volunteers Give Their Time For Free, For Your Town
BMiC was set up as a platform to encourage and inspire a strong community spirit with a sense of pride for the town, a sense of belonging, encouraging cohesion across all nationalities, paving the way for respect and understanding, learning about other cultures, embracing and celebrating diversity. This will be inspired and encouraged across all cultures as well as Boston born locals to help change attitudes and dissolve fears and resentment that many still feel as a threat to their way of life or of being taken over.
We are working together and behind the scenes to help bring communities of different nationalities together. We have quite a few different nationalities in our group whom are working tirelessly in several languages with strong links to other community groups. None of us want to see our town with an us and them divide. We want to see our town as a united community where people are friendly and care about the welfare of each other regardless of nationality, beliefs or politics. It’s in the interests of everyone that lives in Boston, to work towards seeing that our town will pull together and thrive. We must work together towards this, regardless of political viewpoints. Everyone has that choice.
Inspiration, Integration and Inclusion
We aim to encourage and inspire integration by providing ‘free’ regular events for different nationalities to come together, mix and make friends. These events will help the social wellbeing of all individuals and lift the moral of the town which in turn will bring back tourists and visitors. Representatives of all the European communities are to be involved in the planning as this will help ensure inclusion and attendance from all nationalities.
We aim to run numerous events on a regular basis throughout the year, involving everyone to encourage friendly interaction and fun between all nationalities. Boston born locals need to be made a lot more aware of the benefits of migration and how this has benefited our town to help change their perceptions. These events will help change their perceptions. People fear change and anything that threatens their way of life. Local Boston born people need to see diversity as an asset and not a threat. Family events will help change this attitude and encourage cohesion.
British Summertime Begins
Regular summer time events such as British and Multicultural Food tasting stalls, Live multicultural music, team building fun activities, children’s rides, multicultural school performances, dance, choirs, and so forth with stalls to encourage European recruits to join up a membership with local clubs, Scouts, etc. Large flags flying around the venue representing all the main cultures living in Boston to portray inclusion for all with emphasis on having family fun and mixing.
Boat trips with free refreshments, every week from spring onwards, sea trips to see the seals. This would be done by a lucky draw on a first come basis, to ensure that there were even numbers of each nationality to encourage integration, with possibly some sort of fun activity or live music on board to create a friendly happy atmosphere.
Who Will Benefit?
The people who will benefit are the whole community. We are a small town that has had mass migration of different cultures on an unprecedented scale not seen or experienced anywhere else in the UK within a short timescale. Our town has changed rapidly. We need to move forward together now, with small solid steps in the right direction. We can do this if we all pull together and build a town with a strong community spirit for everyone that lives here. The alternative is to be town full of hostility between different communities and local born, which will do no favours for anyone.