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.


Anonymous said...

Ha, as long as elites like Beauchamp can't take opponents of mass immigration seriously, the longer analysis like this one will continue to miss the mark.

What is Beauchamp's conclusion? Don't allow democracy, we elites know what is right better than the voters, so why ask their opinion?

Ann Ceely said...

You need to look long-term & realise that immigration is patchy and not quickley absorbed. That people are rationally considering yet more low-wage /unwaged immigrants, on top of the ones we already have - a large number of whom don't want integrate with us.

In Birmingham,bulk numbers of immigrants from the West Indies came early,after the manufacturers had sent a boat to Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago. Immigrants had been given passage earlier than that, but after the recruiting ship was sent ~1960, the numbers increased dramatically. People from East and West Pakistan came in bulk from 1963 or so. However, at that time, the vast majority of British people had never seen a non-white person. Whereas the population of Birmingham had increased 4-fold from one million to one & a quarter. This shattering of a quiet, peaceful city was traumatic for a lot of us. Personally, as a schoolgirl in Handsworth, I didn't like being spit at by Pakistani boys as I walked from school to the swimming baths; nor having glass bottles throw at me as played in the school playground. Not a great deal of incidents; and I also knew some really nice people. One of whom used to say "You've got the worst of my country in your country".

20 years later, 1981, Handsworth went up in flames. There were guns on the streets. I'd left long ago. It's still not good there.

Everyone knows that some parts of the country have been irrecoverably changed prompting "white flight" and don't really want this to happen to them.

The European migrant workers are like the West Indians I remember as a child - mainly men. In Aylesbury ~2005, the house next door was turned into a rooming house. The rowdiness, drunkenness and empty bottles thrown into my garden was painful - all quite that's typical of young men away from their families. I no longer live there, either.

When I think of the EU, I remember how the 2010 Government promised, and failed to cut down on immigration. They know they can't stop EU people coming here. I'd like them to be able to. I'd like it even more if they would stop fudging the truth.

But most of all, I'd like to be able to talk to a Member of Parliament who could propose a Bill to keep out low-wage immigrants & deport everyone we don't want, regardless of the EU's interpretation of Human Rights. That'll never happen while we're in the EU

CONCLUSION - we are NO LONGER a Sovereign Nation.

Randy McDonald said...

The United Kingdom never was a sovereign nation. It's always been embedded in a wider supranational framework, whether it was the Empire and Commonwealth or the European Union or both. This was allowed to happen not least because this arrangement had benefits for Britons, too. What of all the British people now in Spain and France, Germany and Ireland, and elsewhere?