By METIN GULMEN
In the English city of Bournemouth the right wing party UKIP (UK Independence Party) made a very good result and won the European Election in May 2014 with 26,8%. How strong is this right force at the southern coast in England?
Mehrdad Riazati (34) lives and works as a cab-driver in Bournemouth. He speaks Arabic and just a bit of broken English. “Welcome to the Gaza Strip”, he says with a smile as he gets out of his taxi and shows a long passage in the middle of Bournemouth – a city with 200.000 inhabitants.
“Because of the obvious multitude of Arabic shops and restaurants this street is called ´Gaza Strip´”, says Riazati while he is driving through the Charminster Road. He has been a British citizen for six years and explains: “I know most owners personally. They do not just work here, but also live here with their families in Bournemouth.” Until now the number of English natives in this city is very low. Riazati: “And this fact is not going to change very soon.”
“As a cab-driver I experience that the tone against foreigners and migrants is becoming more racist. The UKIP is much more active than years ago. But I hope that this party will not have success for a long time”, Riazati comments and drinks a bit of his Libanease green tea. He is unsure if the “Gaza Strip” in Bournemouth will change because of UKIP: “Maybe some owners of the shops and restaurants have to overcome more legal obstacles than before, maybe some stores will be closed.” The father of a family looks thoughtful at the street where young people inhale smoke from their hookah. “But we live in a multi-cultural society. And UKIP will not be able to change this.”