Monday, June 27, 2016
"Brexit was fueled by irrational xenophobia, not real economic grievances"
Vox's Zack Beauchamp has a great extended article, "Brexit was fueled by irrational xenophobia, not real economic grievances", that takes a look at how migration concerns helped create a pro-Brexit majority. Critically, as far as he can prove, these seem not to have been based on actual issues, but rather on perceptions.
The surge [of immigrants] was a result (in part but not in whole) of EU rules allowing citizens of of EU countries to move and work freely in any other EU member country.
Pro-Leave campaigners, and sympathetic observers in the media, argued that this produced a reasonable skepticism of immigration’s effect on the economy — and Brexit was the result.
"The force that turned Britain away from the European Union was the greatest mass migration since perhaps the Anglo-Saxon invasion," Atlantic editor David Frum writes. "Migration stresses schools, hospitals, and above all, housing."
Yet there’s a problem with that theory: British hostility to immigrants long proceeds the recent spate of mass immigration.
Take a look at this chart, from University of Oxford’s Scott Blinder. Blinder put together historical data on one polling question — the percent of Brits saying there were too many immigrants in their country. It turns people believed this for decades before mass migration even began[.]
A worthwhile read, if a depressing one.