Since the results of the EU Referendum were announced on Friday, there has been a surge in racist incidents across the country.
In Nottinghamshire the police had received 14 reports of hate crime between Friday and Monday. In Mansfield they say that tensions are being “closely monitored”. (Figures for elsewhere in the region are harder to come by.)
There has always been a level of racially motivated incidents in the UK, widely assumed to be under-reported. However what is happening now seems to both quantitatively and qualitatively different (i.e. there’s more of it and it’s worse). Victims report abuse of a type they haven’t experienced in decades.
This all comes after a deeply divisive campaign. While campaigners briefly tried focussing on the economic arguments (“your boss says vote X”), the “debate” quickly switched to immigration. There were an array of sensationalist claims about Turkey joining the EU and exploitation of the refugee crisis. This was clearly a key factor mobilising the leave vote.
This is not too suggest that all 17 million people who voted to leave are racist. They clearly are not. However, a small, racist minority have interpreted the vote as meaning that a majority of people agree with them. We must now prove them wrong.
There is already a movement to challenge this racist surge. On Tuesday evening hundreds of people gathered in Nottingham’s Market Square to call for unity.