UKIP, Lenny Henry and the black country

UKIP have announced that the comedian and actor Lenny Henry should go to a black country:

A local election UKIP candidate, William Henwood (Enfield) has suggested that British comedian Lenny Henry should emigrate to a “black country”. On his Twitter account, he tweeted: “He should emigrate to a black country. He does not have to live with whites.” (

The poor levels of air pollution and smog in other parts of the country may be an important factor in this case. The decreasing levels of air pollution in large cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham it seems may be caused by the increased awareness amongst citizens and global industry alike about the impacts of industrial and domestic processes. The resulting non-blackness in the environment may be what both Mr Henry and UKIP are in debate over. For Lenny Henry, the Black Country – that area of the West Midlands which bore the brunt of the pollution from the industrial revolution in the 19th century is a living example of the social, economic and environmental changes driven by modernity. UKIP wants Mr Henry to go there. It’s not quite clear why they want him to select the Black Country as a destination, but they really should have done their research more thoroughly. Mr Henry was there very recently, at the official opening ceremony of the revamped Dudley Archives centre, ( a town in which he has also been given Freeman’ status.

Perhaps Mr Henry’s recent comments about low levels of blackness in some parts of modern UK life ( have provoked UKIP into requesting he should move to a part of the country renowned for its industrial history.

Either way, I imagine My Henry should have no problem entering or leaving the Black Country as he chooses. UKIP on the other hand, may find that if their aspiration for stronger borders bears fruit, it won’t just be the Black Country that closes its borders to them.