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 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.
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.
A lot has been said, for and against, free movement within the EU. Most people think it means that any EU national can travel to another EU country and live there, work there or look for work. That’s true for the first three months. But after that it becomes murkier. One has to ‘access one’s freedom of movement rights’ which means being in employment, being self-employed, being a student with finance for the duration of the course, or having funds to sustain oneself and family. Freedom of movement is one of the founding principles of the EU, designed to support the economies of EU countries by providing a mobile work force. However, did you know that the UK government is forcibly deporting hundreds of EU nationals, many of them illegally?
There has been much talk in recent times about the potential for a ‘points-based scheme’ (PBS) being used to control immigration in the event that the UK votes to leave the EU in the June referendum. The supporters of this approach frequently cite the example of Australia as providing a model which would allow a ‘tougher’ attitude to be taken to admitting the migrants who the UK authorities believe are necessary for the UK economy.