A thought on racism and the Brexit vote
I believe that, in this day and age, every single person is entitled to a political opinion. Whether the same or different from your own, it is essential in today’s society for these opinions to be shared and expressed so as to allow democracy to truly work and flourish. On the 23rd of June, 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, ending a forty-three year partnership with several other European countries, including Germany and France. Indeed, democracy worked as it should have — 51.9% of the population voted to leave the Union, and the other 48.1% voted to remain. Many of the voters chose to leave the Union believing that, in the long run, it will benefit themselves, their families and the whole country to a greater extent than if the UK remained in the EU. However, it is undeniable that there were some individuals who made the decision to leave based on racist thought and agenda. Namely, members of Britain First, the English & Scottish Defence League, the BNP and prominent, yet ridiculous, political figures such as Nigel Farage. Disgustingly, this thought was even implemented into leave campaigners’ propaganda in hope of turning the vote. Mainly, this focused on the topic of immigration, and its effects on Britain. Many of these votes appear to have been made on a whim, that, immigration into the United Kingdom is some sort of greater evil that must be sought out and destroyed before it overwhelms us — indeed, making Britain ‘great’ again — in a Trump-esque racist flurry. With immigrants forming a minority of the British public (around 150,000), this could not be more different.
Many of the individuals who immigrated into the UK come from outwith the European Union, from countries such as Syria — where the British government bombed the homes of many innocent people, in a further strike against IS in the war on terror. It must be understood that terrorism is an ever growing issue, and the form of terror which is a threat to national security as of today spurs from the Middle East — not Europe. Hence, to vote based on a hate for immigration seems unjustified, as is assuming every immigrant could be a terrorist. Also, it must be understood that to accept refugees from Syria, many of whom would be homeless due to our government’s action, is a step in benefiting humanity as a whole — not to the dismay of a minority of racists who claim a landmass on a planet full of people who are the same, albeit of different ethnicity, as their own. While I believe community is necessary in forming a social structure, I do not believe it is right to form sects within society — hence ostracising those who are not a part of said sect and creating further prejudice.
As Nigel Farage quoted 1996’s sci-fi Independence Day which provoked a bout of cringe-worthy cheers from his cronies, much of the nation was in shock at the political mess of the United Kingdom on the morning of June 24th. In choosing to focus on racist thought, the minority of leave voters who did so overlooked the possible, worrying, effects of a Brexit. Indeed, in seeing the drastic drop in value of the pound, Britain’s forthcoming exit from Europe’s single market and the uncertainty caused by David Cameron’s resignation appeared to cause many of the leave voters to rethink their decision. Numerous videos began to appear over social media, in which individuals stated they thought their vote to leave ‘wouldn’t make a difference’ and that if they could go back, they would vote to remain. This is not good enough, and simply highlights a disturbing amount of racism within the British public.
The goodness of humanity is not seen by many. Syrian refugees, in December 2015, helped emergency services to build flood defences in Manchester — in order to ‘give something back’ to the community who had so lovingly and wholeheartedly accepted them as what they are — human beings. I did not hear of Farage, Britain First, the EDL, SDL, the BNP or any other racist, prejudiced, member of public choosing selflessly to participate in this. It is a sad day for the United Kingdom to have been dragged out of such a wonderful link with so many beautiful countries based, partly, on the racist thought of a few. It is also sad (and unacceptable) that this thought has been implemented into political campaigns.
I believe that, in this day and age, everyone is entitled to a political opinion. However, I also believe that this opinion should be wholly justified, relevant and based on more than disgustingly racist thinking — so as to benefit all members of the public (and humanity) in the socio-economic sphere. Rather than a few, who should be shown that the colour of one’s skin, or religion, cannot determine your goodness.