Brexiters step up migrant-hating message

Submitted by martin on 30 May, 2016 - 3:45 Author: Chris Reynolds

The "Vote Leave" campaign has become an ugly spate of migrant-bating. "Twelve million Turks say they'll come to the UK", screamed the Daily Express on 22 May.

Around the same time Vote Leave launched a poster saying simply "Turkey (population 76 million) is joining the EU". Not 12 million now, but 76 million!

Tory cabinet minister Michael Gove was more restrained: he predicted 5.2 million extra immigrants.

The Express and Vote Leave were keen to nudge all prejudices. The murder rate in Turkey is higher than in Britain, they said. They'd didn't say that Turkey's rate is lower than the USA's.

Turkey's citizens own nine million firearms. (The USA's own over 300 million). And, muttered the Express, Turks are "predominantly Muslim".

Fact: Turkey has been trying to get into the EU since 1987. It is not likely to get in soon.

Fact: Germany deliberately started recruiting Turkish workers in 1961. Over 55 years since then, the number of people in Germany with at least one Turkish parent has risen to three million (not 12 million, not 76 million!)

12 to 15% of all marriages in Germany are now "intermarriages". Turkish workers in Germany have contributed hugely to the country's prosperity. The discrimination and racism which they still face is a problem, but their presence in Germany is not.

The Express, the Mail, and Vote Leave systematically smear migrants, presenting them as a "cost" and not a cultural and economic boon.

Express front page headline, 17 May: "Migrants cost Britain £17 billion a year". 16 May: "Soaring cost of teaching migrant children".

All these were screaming front-page headlines:

Mail, 30 May: "Britain's wide-open borders". Express, 27 May: "EU migrant numbers soar yet again". Mail, 26 May: "England's population to rise by 4 million in 8 years".

Express, 24 May: "EU threat to family life". ("Mothers", claimed the Express, are worried about "the damage immigration does to family life", though the Express offered no argument as to how the EU might make children surly, parents uncaring, or siblings rancorous).

Mail, 20 May: "Migrants spark housing crisis". Express, 19 May: "Migrant worker numbers surge". 13 May: "Britain's 1.5 million hidden migrants".

Yet the conservative Social Market Foundation reports (27 May) that "only 12% of EEA [EU or Norway] employees currently working in the UK would qualify" to stay here if they had to meet the same visa requirements as non-EEA people.

In other words, without a deal with the EU reinstating many of the conditions of EU membership, Brexit would be an impoverishing blow to social and economic life in Britain.

Push back the scaremongers and the migrant-haters! Vote remain, fight for democracy, social levelling-up, and solidarity across Europe.

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