Post-Brexit Racism Increase


The dust and (some of the) anger has begun to settle somewhat after the EU referendum result was confirmed in favour of the ‘leave’ campaign. We will know in the coming months and years just how significant this decision will be for the British economy and our place in the wider world.

One deeply troubling consequence widely reported this week is the significant increase in racial hatred claimed to have been inspired by the result. Of course, it’s difficult to know if this constitutes a genuine increase, or if more cases are simply now being reported. I’ve also previously bemoaned the ambiguous criteria for confirming a crime of this nature.

Whilst I’m sure there must be a number of people in the leave camp who voted for purely racist reasons, I think it’s untrue (and lazy) to suggest that the leave campaign is racist by default, or racist in its entirety. I’d also be surprised if the backward dimwits responsible for this spike in racial hatred could spell ‘polling station’, let alone find one.

Britain has had its fair share of race related shame in the past, and there is still plenty of work to be done today of course. But happily, I think Britain has been on a path of progression in this respect for quite some time.

People of all races and creeds have integrated into British society and infrastructure at every level. In fact, I think it’s probably one of the best places on the planet to live as a minority, albeit not perfect. Despite its problems, Britain is not a place you need to be born in to do well in.

In just my own 32 years of British identity, I’ve seen a positive change in attitudes, rhetoric and behaviour towards minorities, and I’m confident this trend will continue given good people don’t take their eye off the ball.

I don’t believe these offenders simply became racist overnight, however. These culprits have always felt this way about non-indigenous minorities (or those they perceive to be). In all their misplaced Brexit excitement, they have simply made the mistake of assuming it’s now acceptable to wear their sinister colours in the full light of day.

It’s up to every sensible Brit to let them know they are wrong about that. To let them know we have the backs of our minority citizens against abuse of this kind.

See this recent footage captured on a tram from my home city of Manchester for instance:

As nauseating as it is to witness the behaviour of this utter yob, if I can draw just one positive from the whole sorry affair, it’s the reaction of everyone else.

Listen to the audible disgust from the other passengers. “You are an absolute disgrace. A disgrace to England” shouts one commuter at the racist cretin. That’s exactly the sort of attitude which makes Britain great, and one we should aim to emulate should we find ourselves in the vicinity of similar behaviour. Arrests have been made and the victim himself has said he is ‘overwhelmed’ by the support from people in Manchester (and globally) since the incident.

As Christopher Hitchens said, “Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity”. The racist far-right minority never went away, they are always there, waiting for their moment. Let’s not allow them to snatch it.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.


  • Racist “spike” is a media invention, no significant increase confirmed by police. The idiot on the tram is unlikely to have any interest in politics, whatsoever, just another racist drunk idiot.

    “Racist” graffiti on Polish Community centre almost certainly a Polish Remainer “F*** You OMP” – OMP is a Warsaw based Eurosceptic think-tank, Osrodek Mysli Politycznej. Who but a Pole would have even heard of it? Who but a Remainer would want to say “F*** You” to them? And yet David Cameron refers to it in Prime Minister’s Questions

    • Saul Sorrell-Till

      The police’s online report system has logged a five-fold(that’s to say 500%) increase in hate-crime reports post Brexit. The National Police Chiefs’ Council has confirmed this. Would you like to provide a link which supports your claim that these data, collated by a government institution, are a “media invention”?

      It was always predictable that a Leave vote would massively embolden the more reactionary elements in British society(eg. Covent Garden being marched through by a group chanting about getting rid of ‘the Poles and then the gays’ – that’s Covent Garden remember, not some mainly white council estate in Bradford); what was further predictable was that Leave voters like you would respond to the surge in xenophobia and racism by denying that it was happening at all.

  • The boys were drunken racist idiots clearly. I’m a little bit surprised nobody really challenged them until they’d left the train however.

    • The problem is that those twonks are exactly the sort of idiots that would carry a knife and not be afraid to put it in someone in broad daylight if they were genuinely confronted.
      Short of battering the absolute fudge out of them (which of course has its issues) you risk becoming a statistic.
      Filming the issue leading to an arrest, shaming and lost opportunities is possibly the best outcome you can hour for in this situation.

        • I know what you’re saying but I’m not sure I could be that sensible. Boys like that need showing what’s what so they don’t do it again. I’m no hero or tough guy but there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed.

          • Violence is always best avoided in situations that aren’t self-defence otherwise a problem with a gobby idiot can soon become a life threatening problem

          • I somewhat agree with you.

            Faced with such injustice and the inability to discuss the situation sensibly to a mutually acceptable solution (I can just imagine uttering this sentence to one of those blokes) I think the red mist would descend and, like you, I’m no hero but I don’t know that I could contain myself.

            However, as Stephen says, violence really should be the last resort for many reasons not least that you end up a victim yourself.

  • First, I think the term xenophobia is more relevant to our current situation than racism… Polish people are (mostly) white so the hate is based not on skin colour but on language, culture and other-ness.

    Second, while it’s of course false that 52% of the population are xenophobic, there was undoubtedly a component of that in the leave campaign. Witness UKIP’s disgusting “breaking point” poster and the demonisation of immigrants — which was most effective in parts of the country that receive approximately zero immigrants (it’s hard to blame immigrants for all your problems when they treat you at hospital, greet you kindly while working hard in your local Tesco, and chat with you outside the school gates).

    Given this, it’s hardly surprising that the minority who *are* genuinely xenophobic now feel emboldened, even vindicated.

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  • Undoubtedly (as Stephen said) these idiots are emboldened by the Brexit result. They are not us though.They are a tiny minority of violent, young males. The kind that used to follow England when they played in Europe. What needs to happen is that all the candidates for the Tory leadership need to guarantee the position of gainfully and legally employed EU citizens who are currently in the UK. Andrea Leadsom has already done this. Make it crystal clear they are welcome in the UK and can, if they so desire, become British citizens. Does that idiot on the train seriously think that any of us would favour him over a hard working pole? Piece of shit.

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