When you say 'Bradford', it conjures up for some people very negative connotations. People still remember the Bradford riot of 2001, the 'kidnapping' of Shannon Matthews (both of which were later dramatised for TV) and other negative news stories. It is true that the city has an ethnically diverse population; currently about 20% identify themselves as of Pakistani ethnic origin and about 64% as White British. It's also a young city, with 29% of the population aged less than 20 and seven in ten people aged less than 50. (See here). It is also a relatively poor city, with about a quarter of our children living below the child poverty line in households with less than 60% of average income.
However, despite some areas of the city being largely 'white' and a few being largely 'South Asian', on the whole people rub along together pretty well. Many young Asians are third and fourth generation Bradfordians and more 'Yorkshire' than I am. There will always be those who wish to stir up trouble, but the city has a proud record of coming together to resist those who seek to divide. Tensions, in my view, often have more to do with volatile youth and economic hardship than ethnic differences, although race and religion are always convenient scapegoats.
Art and community events thrive on the vibrant mix of cultures and the Puppet Parade really showed that splendidly. The young ones were excited and awe-inspired; us oldies - including me and the Sikh gentleman in my picture below - perhaps a little more bemused at the hubbub!