Is it racist of John Cleese to say that ‘ London is no longer an English city ‘?

Inspired by @ User-13236025839879124874 . I wanted to post a brief comment under his reply, but it ran some out of hand…


It would be the same as Rotterdam to name a Dutch city.It is now an international city where different cultures have gathered together and enrich the original culture.

What John Cleese has always done in his, in my opinion brilliant, work, is to observe something, internalize and then say something sensible in a serious but often also hilarious way.

London is gives a completely different atmosphere as large areas of England.It is more international, much more of a metropolis. If you compare the different regions in England with London, you can say that London is no longer typically English…

How is that racist?

He says: You are not English so you do not belong here?Does he say I find you inferior because you don’t have the same descent as I have? Am I rejected on my outward occurrence when I have more interaction than just a short visit?

As far as I am concerned.

While I am writing this I am thinking how you can conceive his remark racially;

“No longer English” means that more foreigners live than Englishmen.The typical English identity is thus compromised and that is bad. Those foreigners must adhere to English values or leave; That’s what John Cleese says. He is typically English so he speaks for many Englishmen

This is how far I can stretch the sentence to make something racist and I get a little impassable.

Again: Is it racist?


No.John Cleese is about ethnicities. Less than half of London is still identifying English, as opposed to nationality. ~ 80% has a British passport.

In my opinion, you misinterpret what this man says.

What he means by the fact that Londe is no longer an English city, is not so much indicative of the racial diversity of the city.Throughout England there are numerous large cities.

What he means is that London is very internationally oriented, like for example Amsterdam, which is created by the economic dominance of the city.As a result, many first generation migrants enter here, which are not yet really g to the English society, and the city suffers a bit of its own life. For example, he also mentions that a majority in London voted against Brexit. No OED argument seen that has happened in many places but it indicates what he is referring to; The national feeling is a bit away in London.

Cities such as Manchester and Birmingham are also racially diverse, but it revolves around population groups that are familiar with British society and have been living here for generations.Think of Pakistani, Indians and dark people from British colonies in Africa and the Caribbean. Compare it with Rotterdam, Almere or Utrecht; These cities are racially very diverse, but they reflect the general Dutch society; There are Hollanders, Frisians, Moroccans, Turks, Surinamese etc., all in-and alien groups who have long been part of our society.

First of all, I would like to cite the definite Amnesty International has about rascism:

‘ Racism is a group for racial reasons to treat inferior or humiliating statements. ‘

Then quote John Cleese ‘s criticized message:

A few years ago I thought that London was not really an English city anymore.

Since then, almost all my friends from abroad have confirmed my observation, so there must be some truth in it…. I would like to say that London was the British city which, with the great majority, voted in favour of staying in the EU….

In my opinion, the definition does not apply to Cleese’s statement and thus his ruling is not racist either.

As a compare, I have written two pieces about Amsterdam and I wonder if you consider whether these are rascistic and why you find this.


During my last visit to Amsterdam I looked at my eyes.

On my walk I walked from Wijk to Wijk. Nothing more reminded me of the Amsterdam that I was used to. In The shopping streets I discovered but sparingly a Dutch entrepreneur, most of the inscriptions on the window Windows I could not read. Only by looking inside I knew what one sold. On the street I found almost no Dutch. The clothes that were worn gave me the idea that I was running a kashba or a Pakistani market. Even the familiar smells were gone. It made me crave the time that everything was so familiar. Although Amsterdam was always a world city, it is now definitely not a Dutch city anymore.


During my last visit to Amsterdam I looked at my eyes.On my walk I walked from Wijk to Wijk and I was confronted with the many aspects that the world has to offer us. Shops decorated with Arabic letters, where only a glance through the window can reveal what one sells. People in hooded clothing like you only come across in Kashba’s or Pakistani markets. Scents that bring you to distant places and make you crave for thrilling travels and adventures. Amsterdam is a world city and not a Dutch city.

I have just listened to his interview.He does not have a specific group but he says that the once dominant culture is no longer so visible as the massive presence of people from all over the world. (He speaks of “Kingsroad”). He says something like: “The parent culture dissipates”… So I don’t know if you can stamp these words as racist… Maybe there is a bit of nostalgia in…




It seems that the questioner does not know what “racist” means.(And John Cleese would like to beg this ad hominem.)

I find that it may be that people think it is racism.. Only he knows how he stands in front of the situation.

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