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I haven't been in England much in recent times but the racism/xenophobia I used to encounter was mostly against Muslim's and Pakistanis, Indians and Africans - all a result of Empire rather than the EU.  People where afraid that whole neighborhoods and towns were being taken over by "foreign" cultures and becoming effectively no go areas for the English.

So I was surprised that Brexit was seen as a solution to that issue.  But it may be that has changed.

In the "professional" circles I used to move in, all racism was decried and foreigners were well accepted and integrated. Some became more English than the English themselves.

But I have a suspicion it was different in more working class areas where east Europeans, in particular, were seen as competitors for jobs and perhaps pushing down wages.

East Europeans may also have become victims of English class snobbery as many worked in manual or agricultural trades which are looked down on by the "respectable" classes in any case.

The other suspicion I have is that people of Asian descent or heritage have become so numerous and powerful in many areas that they are no longer as vulnerable to racism. Its easier to pick on a few Romanians in your town.

I would not be surprised if many relatively recent immigrants actually voted for Brexit - to shut the door behind them and prevent competition from even more immigrants - especially if they were not from your ethnic background.

In years to come England may well become more Asian than European, more Muslim that Christian, and Brexit will enhance that process. That will also suit many EU27 racists and xenophobes just fine.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Feb 20th, 2019 at 12:18:13 PM EST
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