Saturday, 2 July 2016

Brexit, Racism and Accountability

Brexit - Voting to Leave
Brexit surprises - the ‘Out’ result itself, who voted out and the ensuing political turmoil.

Generally, the media has characterised those who voted out as the disenfranchised white working class, and given the spread of the ‘Out’ vote, this applies to most of the country.

The rise in attacks and abuse against Asians, Blacks and Europeans has been swift. Many column inches have been devoted to ‘Shock’, pointing to the effects of austerity and the words of grey, white people in small towns.

But England and its people hasn't substantially changed over the years and certainly not since the EU referendum vote. For some, it would seem, are now more comfortable being openly racist because, through the vote, they believe most people think like them.

And the fault for this lies squarely with the leaders of this country.

Recently, too many politicians have taken Race and used it to demonise as a cover for the negative consequences of their policies or the deficit in their thinking.

They have 'weaponised' it.

Race played a major part in last year’s General Election with the main parties all promising to be tough on immigrants and doing nothing to dampen down the resulting xenophobia. 

The Labour Party even produced its infamous 'Controls on Immigration' mugs.

The recent London Mayoral campaign was openly Islamophobic.

The use of high levels of fear by BOTH the Remain and Brexit campaigns was new, with Brexit basing their fear platform on immigration and Europeans.

That immigrants and Europe have been the main cause of England's problems – lack of services, housing, jobs - was not only a central plank of Brexit but also often used by the government over the years.

By voting 'Out', the majority of the public accepted these argument.

What have politicians been doing to allay these fears? 


Leadership battles have turned politicians inward instead of outwards to the country. No-one is trying to close the wounds this campaign has opened.

A pox on all their houses. Blame for this situation should be pointed in the right direction.

So what does this mean for the Greens?

  • The national leadership to be much more vocal about their anti-racist policies and practices.
  • Hold any racist, xenophobic actions and policies of the other parties to account.
  • Local parties to be much faster to condemn racist incidents wherever they happen in the country.
  • Show more diversity in its leadership platform.Its done that relatively successfully over the last couple of years with Shahrar Ali and Amelia Womack presenting a different complexion to its membership, Natalie Bennett covering almost every inch of the country in support of local members and Caroline Lucas retaining her popularity with the press.

If though, as a party, we are going back to having a white, middle aged, middle class leadership, that is a statement in itself.

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