There has been much speculation over the cause of this spike in hate crime and hate speech. Was it closet racists who thought the referendum result legitimised their views and made it acceptable to tell those they considered ‘foreign’ to ‘go home’? Was it the result of the political campaigning around the referendum and the anti-migrant/anti-free movement of labour stance taken by the campaigning groups? Was it pent up frustration from years of austerity measures that erupted into some people blaming anyone who appeared to come from another country, a distinction based on skin colour, looks or language spoken? Probably a mixture of all these and more causes.
The first anniversary of the death of the three year-old Syrian Kurdish refugee, Aylan Kurdi, is coming up fast. Even people who were shocked by the appalling image of the Turkish police officer cradling the drowned infant might be forgiven for thinking that things have got better for the refugees who were fleeing conflict in the Middle East and North African region. The news reports describing the hundreds of boats arriving on the Greek islands during that period and the images of thousands of despite people queuing at the European borders which had been so hastily thrown up to bar their admittance are no longer making the headlines.
If a week is a long time in politics then the six-and-a-bit weeks since the vote for Brexit on 23 June are beginning to feel like an eternity. The whole country is waiting to see even a sketchy outline of what the government feels can be done to deliver on the issue that seems to have persuaded most people that a punt on the ‘Leave’ option was worth taking. That something is of course immigration.
The operation directed against migrant employees of the fast food chain, Byron Hamburgers by Home Office Border enforcement officials on the evening of 4th July has sparked a lively discussion about the extent to which employers should be held to any sort of standard why it comes to a duty of care towards its workers.
A month ought to have been long enough to assemble thoughts on what Brexit is going to mean for immigration policy, but the truth is the great puzzle over what life will look like outside the EU is going to be perplexing us for a long time to come. The imminent end of free movement, at least in the form that it has taken during the 43 years the UK has been a full member of the European Community/Union, will bring to the forefront of the thinking of many people the huge benefits that have come from this way of managing migration over this time.
Eighty years after the Battle of Cable Street in which the East End Jewish community and anti-fascists stopped Moseley’s Blackshirts marching through a migrant community, there are reports of a rise in anti-migrant feeling, abuse and attacks following the narrow pro-Brexit vote on 23 June.
Thanks to the valiant efforts of a journalist and his smart use of the Freedom of Information Act, we now know that there were almost 11 immigration raids a day in London between 2010 and 2015. We also know that areas with sizeable migrant populations in east and south east London were the chief targets for these raids.
Charter of Fundamental Rights The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights covers political, social and economic rights: dignity, freedoms, equality, solidarity, citizens’ rights and justice. Although the Charter is consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, many see it as a more modern codification because includes such rights as data protection, which was not an issue when the European Convention on Human Rights was passed in 1950. On leaving the EU, this would no longer apply to the UK. European Convention on Human Rights
The vote to leave the European Union has thrown politics into a massive period of uncertainty. It is clear that deep public concern about immigration has been one of the most important factors encouraging 52% of voters to take the drastic action of the probable severing of the connection with the largest economic market in the world. The perceived need to ‘regain control of our borders’ has been a potent message which summed up the feeling that many people have about a country that has changed so much in recent decades. Immigration, as many have said, has functioned as a proxy for the misgivings about living in a world where markets have taken the place of democracy in determining the quality of public life.
Today is UN World Refugee Day and in Britain it marks the start of our annual Refugee Week. As the UNHCR reminds us, it kicks off this year with a record high level of displacement of vulnerable and persecuted people. One in every 122 human across the face of the planet is now believed to be a refugee shockingly half of them being children.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi’s judgment of the tone of the referendum debate this morning is worth quoting at length. She said: “This kind of nudge-nudge, wink-wink xenophobic racist campaign may be politically savvy or politically useful in the short term, but it causes long-term damage to communities. “The vision that me and other Brexiters who have been involved right from the outset, who had a positive outward-looking vision of what a Brexit vote might mean, unfortunately those voices have now been stifled and what we see is the divisive campaign which has resulted in people like me and others who are deeply Euro sceptic and want to see a reformed relationship feel that they now have to leave.”
The EU referendum campaign hit yet another low with claims by one politician that seven more prisons will be needed by 2030 to house all the new criminals that will arrive if the UK votes to stay in Europe. While another long-term Brexiter found himself facing criticism for suggesting the risks of sex attacks on women would rise if voters decide to stay.
Right throughout the current debate on around the in/out referendum there is one question that is being asked incessantly by the millions who are trying to decide how to cast their vote, and it is perhaps the one that the supporters of a positive case from immigration have found hardest to answer: just how did we manage to become a country of large-scale inward migration anyway? The answer most frequently touted is that is has come about as the result of incompetence and poor judgement on the part of national politicians. According to this version of events at some point in the 1990s or thereabouts, someone in some ministry or another decided that that immigration was the simplest and most direct way to continue to grow the economy and went for it hell for leather.