A final plea to Britain’s ethnic minority voters
Politicians are entrusted to lead us with vision, whether we agree or not. The Brexit “vision” has no detail, no experts, no answers.
Think about whether you can remember a time in history when senior politicians, a Cabinet minister no less, told people to ignore expert views, throw caution to the wind, based on absolutely nothing but a “feeling” Britain would be fine.
Priti Patel talks about optimism as though wishful thinking can pull countries out of recession. Michael Gove ignores leading experts in every realm, shrugging “Trust me”. And Boris – a man who just recently suggested Obama couldn’t be neutral because of his mixed-race background – jumps from one position to the opposite, whichever way the wind will turn.
Think about whether you can imagine Britain as a United Kingdom post-Brexit, once Scotland and Northern Ireland decide they won’t be tied to a result for which they didn’t vote. If you believe you can, how?
Think about how the newest migrants to our country must be feeling in the rhetoric and hatred of recent weeks.
Think about whether you really believe this government, which is crippling access to justice for all but the wealthy through spiralling fees, which has hampered the rights of all employees, but especially maternity rights, through excessive employment tribunal fees, a government which has created obstacles for trade unions to enforce their right to strike, a government that has sought to deregulate our labour market even further. Remember how this government has pushed our doctors to their first ever all-out strike over working hours and conditions. Do you really think this government will protect workers’ rights without the EU framework to ensure and guarantee that protection.
Think about a government whose ministers have talked seriously about abolishing the Human Rights Act, or jumping out of an international convention on human rights, escaping from our universal obligations like a maverick nation. Think too whether a government who has had to be taken to court to ensure environmental pollution targets are met, or Boris Johnson who sat on a damning environmental report quietly whilst he was London Mayor, think about whether a small, isolated Britain can and will tackle global environmental issues that affect us locally.
Don’t buy into these fallacious arguments that somehow the EU is preventing Indian restaurants from recruiting chefs, or that the Commonwealth will resurge towards resplendence again. These claims are completely false. Think about the real message conveyed a hair’s breadth beneath the surface of open arms. Think about what that poster conveyed.
Think about the progress we have made in half a century since many of our parents arrived here, subjected to No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs. As that gets ripped apart, by hysterical confusion and blame towards all migrants and immigrants (without any honest scrutiny of austerity, or the role the government plays in failing to adequately resource struggling communities), think about if that is what you want for your children, and theirs. A world where they have to fear playground bullies and suspicion, because they, too, come somewhere from immigrants.
If we vote Out tomorrow, we aren’t just voting to reduce the influence of Brussels. We aren’t just voting for an economy that will plunge – and affect us all. We aren’t just voting for a massive risk to jobs and livelihoods which impact upon the wealth and health of us all. We are voting for a future that takes an irreversible leap into extreme right-wing politics, that will tar and taint us all. This is the culmination of months, maybe much longer, of a political discourse in which it has become acceptable to denigrate the other. If we vote Out tomorrow, we endorse those views with political legitimacy. This is the society we will have voted to become.
This isn’t hysteria. This isn’t hype. This isn’t because you normally vote right and I normally don’t.
This was supposed to be a referendum about the complex questions surrounding sovereignty and governance. But it has become a national free-for-all on immigration and blame.
This is what the Leave campaign has shown us. It is their truest, deepest colours. In a society where colour had begun to matter less to us all.
Please vote Remain. We are Stronger Together, Stronger In.