A NEW book outlines how riots in an East Lancashire town led to it voting for Brexit in the 2016 referendum.
The volume ‘On Burnley Road’ portrays what was happening in the borough after its 2001 disturbances.
It offers the inside story on what was happening in the Town Hall when the British National Party was winning seats on the council and local people was recovering from the disturbances.
The book, subtitled ‘Class, race and politics in a Northern English town’ is written by Mike Makin-Waite, who worked as a council manager on community cohesion and the Elevate housing programme.
It includes a summary of the 2001 disturbances, accounts of the council’s work to improve race relations, and details of the ‘good relations’ meetings which were organised by mediators from Belfast when far-right election gains had caused controversy.
It argues that many issues first seen in the town twenty years ago have since become more widespread in English politics, including ‘antipathy to immigration and to Europe’ and ‘the ongoing distrust of politicians and our democratic process’.
The author recalls that ‘back in the early 2000s, some condescending national politicians, civil servants and commentators treated Burnley as an exception, seeing it as a strange place with backward ways. This was wrong. In fact, the place was simply offering a sign of things yet to come’.
The book will be out on May 1. It can be ordered from the publishers at Lawrence Wishart Books and many online bookshops including W H Smiths and Waterstones.