'Britain is not a racist country' I used to wail, as I frantically waved my little virtual Union Jack. 'We are a post-modern, post-bigotry, post-post wonderland; this island is just all about Instagram, edamame-beans and enlightenment, now.' But Brexit has changed things.
Brexit has become a byword for racism and chauvinism. A gross generalisation has been born out of the admittedly undeniable fact that some extreme-right groups advocated an exit from the EU. This unfair generalisation that those who supported Brexit are closet racists has passed into the norm of social thought and may take a while to reverse.
Brexit was always going to create uncertainty, but that uncertainty will not help businesses who need to plan and nor will it shut up the Brexiteers who will continue to insist that an Australian points-based system is the only answer.
Leave campaigners called for a points-based system, and Leave won the referendum. Any sense this is not being delivered will surely play into the hands of Ukip. Even if Theresa May did not want the Australian system, she could have quite easily announced there would be a "British-style points-based system"... Confusing policy, strange politics.
It has been two months since the Battle of brexit was decided, and finally there is enough distance from its hysteria for fresh reflection. The question as to why the British public leant toward the Leave campaign, and didn't wish to Remain, requires evaluating which strategies worked - and which failed.
In 2015, a massive 58% of live births in London were to mothers who themselves were born outside the UK. For contrast, this compares to 11% of births in the North East region of England (the lowest proportion) and 27% for England and Wales as a whole.
That's when my decency as a human being obliged me to turn around and ask muscle guy if this was really necessary to which his response was that it indeed was necessary. When I asked him why he explained that refugees 'have done a lot to him', not clarifying what exactly they have done to him. His girlfriend added wisely that 'at some point refugees just become annoying'.
But spotting a fully veiled woman at the local IKEA store or the main train station elsewhere in Germany can really get people angry. There's more than one reason as to why burqas, niqabs, hijabs and chadors and the like enrage the regular Joe, or Fritz.
The reality, however, is that well-managed migration can benefit national economies. Despite the popular belief that a new wave of immigrants will increase unemployment, the National Institute of Economics and Social Research says there is no aggregate impact of migration on unemployment. Similar misconceptions abound about the strain on public services.
If we end freedom of movement, the schoolchild who wants to study in Pairs, or the graduate who wants to accept a job in Frankfurt, or the couple who want to retire to the Algarve sun, will have their hopes denied, and their horizons narrowed. Politics should be about expanding people's liberties, setting them free.
If you think Brexit is a rollercoaster so far, we've only just started the ride. And the eerie silence you hear from Government as we supposedly gear up to the big negotiations doesn't bode well either. We're going to have to brace ourselves for turbulent times and face up to some pretty fundamental questions.
Image by Melissa Mehta Since the EU referendum result, I've felt heavy sadness for our country, fear for our precious inclusive society, an ove...
Labour is now paying for its own silence. It let the anti-migrant narrative go unchecked and, in doing so, it gave ground to the xenophobic factions within the Conservatives and Ukip. With the premiership of Theresa May, the stakes are much higher.
Nations are created, not discovered. England's future story is not yet told. Labour needs to create a vehicle for the politics of nation building. We need an English Labour movement, with a new appeal to north and south, to unite people and find common ground, and tell a progressive patriotic national story.
I never understood why David Cameron promised to cut net migration to tens of thousands. It was never deliverable - and his failure helped spark the fall in trust, that provoked many to vote to leave. So if there is one thing we can salvage from this sorry story, let's try to make it sanity in the immigration debate. It is surely time to end, the way this touchstone issue poisons our national politics.
The UK has always been an open and tolerant nation, and will continue to be outside the EU. Many scare stories were thrown around before the referendum, and this one is demonstrably false. We at Get Britain Out would like to reassure all readers your right of residency will not be removed, as to do so would not only be immoral, but also illegal.