Crime, Extremism and Discrimination
Crime, extremism and discrimination: just a few words that come to mind when you think about Luton. As the home to certain extremist parties including the EnglishDefenceLeague and a small minority of Islamic Extremists - with an annual crime rate higher than the national average- Luton has become a main target concerning the national press and media, which continues to portray Luton as a hostile and unwelcoming place to live. However, do you truly believe that this is all that Luton is about? That this tiny trivial minority of people really represent all 300,000 people who live here? If yes… YOU ARE WRONG!
Type in Luton in Google and what comes up at the top? The EDL? Shocking crime rate statistics? No, Luton Airport. Aside from being one of the town's most popular landmarks, Luton Airport is Britain’s fastest growing airport and the fifth largest passenger airport in the UK, with roughly around nine million passengers travelling from it every year – in other words around 25,000 passengers each day.
As well as this, the Luton Carnival is the largest single-day carnival throughout all of the 52 countries that occupy Europe, with over 150,000 people in attendance each year – around half of Luton’s whole population. Established in 1998, the Luton Carnival Arts Development Trust emphasised the outstanding track record of carnival in Luton through a two year programme of imaginative thinking, education work, neighbourhood arts development and new commissions that lead to the breathtakingly beautiful Luton Young People's Carnival for the Millennium, which also celebrates the incredible things young people are doing in Luton.
Luton is also the home to two of the best further education institutes in the nation - Luton Sixth Form College and Barnfield College – in which The Department for Education and Skills awarded both with the Learning & Skills Beacon Status. One third of its secondary schools are Outstanding. Now, how many towns can say that? In addition to this, in 2004 the University of Bedfordshire – situated in the heart of Luton - was honourably awarded by The Sunday Times with the title of ‘Best New University.’
Watched the James Bond movies? Stargate? Maybe even Little Britain? If yes, ever paid attention to the music? Because if you have, that music was created by Luton’s very own David Arnold, who attended Luton Sixth Form college during the late 1970’s. Not only has he composed the scores for these movies, but he’s also worked with the likes of The Cardigans, Kaiser Chiefs, Massive Attack, Pulp, and even Natasha Bedingfield.
There are so many positive things about Luton! The fact that it holds a fascinating Victorian era museum; that the unemployment rate is only 4.9% compared to the UK’s average of 8.7%; and, that on opening the town’s shopping centre was the largest covered shopping centre in the whole of Europe.
But the most positive thing is Luton’s diversity. It makes Luton unique and special! As Labour MP of Luton South Gavin Shuker stated, ‘you can go to lots of other places and it feels like things are the same, but in Luton, that just isn’t true…’.