Rethinking The Racist Vans

By Jonn Last edited 58 months ago
Rethinking The Racist Vans

No racist van will ever win the coveted 'Van of the Year' award. Because they're racist.

London last week was agog, aghast and agother things at the news that the Home Office was spending actual public money on actual vans that, in not so many words, tell any passing illegal immigrant that happens to spot them to bugger off home.

The delightful, sensible and entirely non-racist ‘racist van’ policy, as it swiftly became known, has been widely reported (we did it here and here, for a start), so we don't feel any present need to trawl through this particular sewer once again. But Londonist, as ever, is on a mission to highlight all the things that are lovely about London.

And we think that, with a little tweaking, these vans do have a role to play: in providing a medium for broadcasting useful public service messages, say, or in simply making us all feel better about ourselves. After all, now that we’ve spent the money, we might as well use the bloody things.

With that in mind, here are our suggestions for alternative messages. Feel free to suggest your own below.

  • Welcome to London! We love you guys. Fancy a cup of tea?
  • Remember the Olympics? Brilliant, weren't they?
  • In zone one? Planning a tube journey of fewer than three stops? Probably quicker to walk, to be honest.
  • DID YOU KNOW: Londonist does daily emails of great things to do in London? I'd subscribe now if I were you. Go on.
  • Might rain a bit later. Best pack an umbrella.
  • Who does your hair? And those shoes! You are looking fabulous.
  • Don't change at Green Park. There's no problem there or anything, it's just a bloody long walk.
  • Travelling on the new bus for London? I'd take some water. And a fan. And some frozen peas to stick up your t-shirt. Seriously, it’s boiling on there.
  • TRIGGER WARNING: The new series of Aaron Sorkin's Newsroom contains mild disappointment.
  • Peckish? There's an awesome bagel place on Brick Lane. (No, not that one, the other one.)
  • Wherever you go, whatever you do, never forget how much you are loved. Yes you are.
  • Prejudiced against people of other nations, races or cultures? Go home. We don't want your sort here.
  • Hey, maybe when this all blows over, we can go for a pint.

Image courtesy of WordyRap, taken from the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 29 July 2013

Not Saint Etienne

Go home and listen to Saint Etienne. More People Should Listen to Saint Etienne.

Boris Watch

'Money in an offshore tax haven? Send it home now!'

Richard McKeever

You should try and get this list up to 106* suggestions

NB *106 is not a relevant or genuine figure but a made up number to sound a bit convincing and biggish.


Or...."Here illegally? Please go home."


"SLOGAN WRITERS: SAVE MONEY ON INK BY typing in little letters"

Stuart Lambert

Here for the friendly welcome? Go home, you could be waiting a while.


"Racist? Go home or face arrest."


How about "London is big enough that anyone can hide, whether you came legally or illegally"?


What a great article. I love your turn of phrase - and its use in highlighting this serious issue.


Absolutely!! Topnotch ideas, there!