Brexit and the normalisation of race hatred


Not since the 1970’s have we seen day to day extreme racial abuse and violence on the streets of Britain.

When an Italian man enquired to someone else about how they voted in the EU referendum, he was punched to the, knocking out his teeth and needed hospital care. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident of racism since the UK voted to leave the European Union.

For many months the UK has been fed a daily diet that the number one issue around the EU Referendum was immigration. Worse still it’s not an objective immigration debate, but one which one that has been full of toxicity and xenophobia with wild claims such as: ’77 million Turks have the right to come to UK’, 'They’re taking our jobs, our homes, our doctors and hospital appointments’; 'They are committing all the crimes here in the UK'.

This unprecedented deluge of racial hatred has not been bought by everyone, but for some it is both legitimised and normalised racial abuse and violence. So the starting point might be; ‘just because I say, they’re taking our jobs and homes doesn’t make me a racist’, but then it leads a growing minority to say, 'I’m voting out so that you can f...k off back to your own country’.

Many have gone further. In Peterborough, the police were called when leaflets were posted through the doors of Asians, stating: ‘Leave the UK now or die’.

Yesterday a Black BBC reporter in Liverpool told me that her mother sat a bus, and a man a few seats away pulled out a bunch of bananas and put them next to her. In other parts of the UK it has been reported that leaflets are being pushed through the homes of Polish residents stating: ‘Leave now, no more polish vermin’.

On social media the racists are off the with the insults, warning: 'this is England; foreigners have 48 hours to f**k right off. 'Who is foreign here? Anyone foreign?' #Brexit'.

In truth I cannot remember the UK being like this since the 1970’s when gangs would roam the streets, chanting, 'send the wogs to Vietnam, hallelujah’, whilst others would engage in what was called ‘Paki bashing’, which was finding anyone Asian looking and beating them up.

It took 45 years to arrive at to place in which these thoughts were barely around much less acted upon, and yet with politicians such as Nigel Farage stirring up racial hatred, aided in no small measure by the Prime Minister David Cameron who wrote letters to warn people about Sadiq Khan and ‘his terrorist friends’, we are now in a situation in which to racially abuse and attack a ‘foreigner’ is a regular occurrence.

OBV is now planning to hold a series of meetings with race and religious leaders to come together and organise a collective response to the rise of racial hatred.

But even before that we demand that the police protect our communities and begin arresting and prosecuting those who are undertaking these racial abuse and attacks.

Simon Woolley