As we all hold our breath over the Supreme Court’s decision over whether Parliament has the power to impose Brexit, it got me wondering – what will Brexit actually look like?
The biggest issue drummed home by politicians supporting Britain to leave the European Union was migration and “protecting Britain’s borders”. Likewise, migration was a big issue for voters who elected Donald Trump as US president.
My family moved here in the 1960s when the British government was appealing for Commonwealth citizens to come here and take up jobs to fire-up the economy. At the time there was a lot of resistance from locals – racist attacks and segregated areas are testament to this.
But overtime society evolved. Migrants appeared to adapt to local customs and culture and even the Brits adopted the curry as the nation’s favourite dish. South Asian migrants were becoming entrepreneurs and business owners, not just factory workers. This wave of migrants was making an identity in the British way of life.
Equality legislation was established, race relations were considered the pinnacle of a modern society. People became more aware and respectful to cultures and faiths, which gave birth to a politically correct society.
Fast forward fifty odd years and suddenly more and more hate crime is being reported. People are questioning why some Muslim women wear headscarves and some Sikh men wear a turban. People are questioning why there is a huge wave of Poles, Somalis and Romanians who are “coming over here and taking our jobs”.
It all seems eerily similar to stories I’ve heard from the 1960s when the first wave of South Asian economic migrants were coming to Britain.
Is history repeating itself? Are we regressing as a society?
A lot of (granted, not all) Brexit voters here and Trump supporters in America took migration as their key voting decider. Many of them are indeed descendants of migrants themselves, which I find particularly interesting. Even Donald Trump is of German descent!
Some 40% of the NHS workforce is from Europe and beyond: think about when you go to see your GP or you’re visiting someone in hospital, now imagine no “foreign” workers there…
From the medical profession to the legal, building contractors to beauty salons – ethnic minorities have made an impact across the broad spectrum of the economy. Be they first, second or even third generation – when are you defined as British and no longer a migrant?
As a journalist I have come across people who have suggested that the reason I am where I am is because there is a need to promote diversity and apparently I tick the relevant boxes…need I explain which party such people have been politically aligned to?!
I’m bored of hearing the tenuous argument about controlling migration to secure jobs. So my suggestion to Britain and America – stop all of your ethnic minorty workforce, or whoever you consider a migrant (European and further afield) – stop them working for one week, just seven days. And let’s see how your respective countries cope.
Why blow out hot air with rhetoric. Let’s see if your arguments come to any fruition and “locals” can manage their economies alone. Let’s rewind the clock to a world where globalisation was a thought and not a way of life (that’s the direction Donald Trump’s America seems to be going).
So seven days. One week without any minorities working. Let’s see how the countries function.