2018-12-03 13:11:45 UTC
Let's start by asking: Are we an intrinsically or inherently racist
country? JNugent will be able to explain the difference, as he is
obviously far better educated than I am. But my gut feeling is that we
have never truly rejected those signs in the 1960s "No Blacks, No
Irish, No Dogs". See how those signs actually equated foreigners with
animals? We're still doing it today, and this group shows plenty of
evidence of it on a daily basis.
Furthermore, while racists like Nigel Farage with his poster campaign
are so obvious, an undercurrent of racism flows right across England
in all strata of society, from the ordinary worker, to the boss of an
engineering company, to the little old lady riding a bicycle to
We oldies all grew up in a country of largely white faces. Weeks,
months, would go by when one never saw a non-white face. I remember ny
Dad telling me aged six "Don't stare" on our occasional trips to
London from the South Coast, because in Hastings I hadn't seen any
non-white faces. The police were white. Doctors were white. Teachers
were white. Judges were white. It was just a fact of life, just how it
was 50 years ago in nearly every community.
The change from nearly all white faces to a mix of different
ethnicities happened too quickly to quell bigotry. Perhaps I was
different from most people in that I started work aged 15 and both my
foremen in two different garages were of Indian or Arabian extraction.
In 1961 this was most unsual, especially in rural Kent. They were
nice, friendly people, good at their jobs, totally impartial with all
the fitters, so there was nothing about them that might have shaped my
opinions towards a bias against their ethnicity.
But for many people it didn't work like that. Suddenly, after
Windrush, non-white faces appeared, accents changed, the English who
went through the war having grown up in the 1920s and '30s felt
confronted and under threat. They had fought Nazism in defence of
human rights, but curiously those human rights did not, in their eyes,
extend to *all* nationalities.
Fast forward to June 2016 and it is clearer than ever that the impetus
fuelling the Leave vote was blatant racism, or its more polite cousin,
xenophobia. People said they wanted to take back control, but what
they really meant was, they wanted to control inward migration to,
hopefully, zero if at all possible. Not only reduce it to zero, but
"encourage" repatriation of any non-white face still left over. Post
the referendum we heard about hundreds of cases of abuse, frequently
with violence, towards foreigners, which means the number we didn't
hear about or read about was a hundred times bigger. Many of those
abused were actually British born and bred, but the far-right doesn't
make a distinction. To them, foreigners are foreigners if they look or
sound like foreigners. For Farage, simply hearing foreign accents on
trains was enough to set him off. The far-right tendency across
England felt they suddenly had the right to abuse foreigners because
that was what the referendum result told them.
"In June 2017, a report collated from the British Social Attitudes
survey showed that the most significant factor in the leave vote was
anxiety about the number of people coming to the UK. A comprehensive
study published by Nuffield College in April drew similar conclusions
about the salience of immigration in attitudes to Brexit. 'Take back
control' was indeed the slogan of the leave campaign, but it was
'control' with one purpose, above all others, at its heart."
"Beneath all the talk of 'control' and 'global Britain', there is the
germ of an extremely unpleasant nativism. Again, we pesky centrists
are told to be quiet and to heed the concerns of those who have been
'left behind'. But since there is not a shred of respectable evidence
that immigration has had more than a marginal impact upon public
service capacity, wage levels or net welfare costs, I am forced to
conclude that there is now a sufficiency of Britons who just dont
much like people of foreign extraction, and certainly dont want many
more of them around the place."
"So often one hears that the British people 'were not consulted' about
immigration levels. To which the answer is: oh yes you damn well were.
Every time you insisted on a properly staffed NHS, on social care that
was halfway decent, on a service economy that worked, on affordable
decorators, on your Tesco and Amazon deliveries arriving on time. Each
time you took that landscape for granted, you were complicit in the
immigration policy that preceded the Brexit vote."
So really, what Brexit is all about is how to keep the English in some
kind of harmony with each other, whatever ethnicity or nationality
they happen to be or have, until enough of us have passed on and
replaced by young, educated kids who just don't have this inherent or
intrinsic trait that defines many of those who voted to leave the EU.
Already, the number of young voters now eligible to vote is
approaching 1.5 million, and a far greater proportion of them would
vote to remain if given the chance.
You'll note I mentioned only the English above. Well, Scotland
rejected Brexit, as did Northern Ireland, so my criticism doesn't
apply to people of those countries.
Some of the above extracts, the ones in quotes, are from this article: