Brexit campaign leaves children scared

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Racism was the main energy behind the Brexit campaign, and now we are seeing the ugly consequences. The Huffington Post has pulled together dozens of twitter reports of nasty attacks and verbal abuse not just against EU citizens but on anybody who looks ‘foreign’.

Saw a middle aged black man attacked by a drunk woman outside sheffield train station at 7am… “get out of our county”  
11 year-old girl racially abused in Sussex. Police say it is linked to the referendum result
Been standing here five minutes. Three different people have shouted “send them home”.
‘this is England, foreigners have 48 hours to f**k right off. Who is foreign here? Anyone foreign?’
This evening my daughter left work in Birmingham and saw group of lads corner a Muslim girl shouting “Get out, we voted leave”. Awful times.

Even five-year-old children are asking their teachers when they’ll be forced to leave!

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Much of the blame for this situation sits with a group of right-wing newspapers. Their campaign was designed to persuade lower-paid workers in insecure jobs that migrants were to blame for their situation, rather than Government policies.

The Press Gazette has just published a study of media distortions by Reuters journalist Hugo Dixon, the founder of business website Breaking Views. Dixon complains that the pro-Brexit newspapers “produced a series of significantly misleading stories, mainly on migration.” Even when the press regulator forced newspapers to correct their story, the corrections were insignificant and well  hidden, compared with prominent front-page headlines. Here are some of the lies which have generated racial hatred.

“75% of new jobs go to EU migrants in one year.” (Daily Express). In fact, around 80% of new jobs go to UK-born workers. The figure quoted refers to people switching jobs, not new jobs – suggesting that many migrants may be in insecure work.

“Annual tidal wave of 228,000 non-EU migrants using EU passports to gain access to Britain.” (Daily Express) This was not an annual figure, but the total number of EU citizens born outside the EU who are currently living in Britain.

“Britain could stop ten times more terror suspects from entering the country if it leaves the EU”. (Mail Online) The UK has refused entry to 67,000 non-EU citizens and 6,000 EU citizens since 2010, but these are overall figures, not terror suspects.

“Report shows the NHS is nearly at breaking point as massive influx of EU migrants forces doctors to take on 1.5 million extra patients in just three years.” (Mail Online) This figure for extra patients includes increases due to people living longer, as well as migration from outside the EU.

“NHS will be £10 BILLION in the red in three years time – creaking under weight of migrants.” (Express website) This figure is based on a report by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy which does not even mention migration. It is simply a report of the cumulative effect of NHS underfunding.

“The gap between the official migrant figure and the truth is as wide as the Grant Canyon.” (Daily Telegraph) The report claimed that the Government are presenting a figure of 0.9 million whereas real number of EU migrants is 2.4 million. In fact, the figure of 2.4 million adds together the number of short-term visitors during each of five separate years. It is not a cumulative figure: these are people who come and then go.

“Soaring cost of teaching migrant children – £3 billion bill – another reason to quit EU’” (Daily Express) The story quotes official figures showing that 700,000 school-aged children had at least one parent who was a citizen of another European Economic Area country. It is inaccurate to call these children migrants. Such a definition would include Nigel Farage’s children with his German wife! Even children with two European parents are not ‘migrant children’ if born in Britain.

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