UK no longer safe


IMAGINE the shock of waking up to the news that the UK has voted to leave the European Union (EU), the PM has resigned, the pound sterling has tumbled against other currencies to an all-time low in the past 30 years; and within that short space of time, you hear the possibility of Scotland and Northern Ireland breaking away from the UK because their citizens had voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.
Worse still, to add to the mix of confusion, your favourite Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has received a vote-of-no-confidence from his MPs.
Before you take all this confusion in, you see a petition online, signed by more than three million people within a few hours, requesting a second referendum because some people who voted to leave were not so sure of what they were doing, or the repercussions of a Brexit vote.
One woman interviewed by ITV News said: “Even though I voted to leave, this morning I woke up and I just — the reality did actually hit me.
“If I’d had the opportunity to vote again, it would be to stay.”
The Washington Post wrote about how Britons were googling about the implications of leaving the EU, hours after they had already voted: “Google reported sharp upticks in searches not only related to the ballot measure, but also about basic questions concerning the implications of the vote.
“At about 1am Eastern time, about eight hours after the polls closed, google reported that searches for ‘what happens if we leave the EU’ had more than tripled.”
So what’s going on?
With the struggling pound sterling, are we going to be able to continue supporting our loved ones back home?
Although there have been increased incidents of hate crime (racial abuse) since the Brexit vote, many Africans in the UK voted for Britain to leave the EU.
And I am one of them, albeit for very different reasons other than immigration, because I am also a migrant.
I felt by voting for Brexit, perhaps the UK would now pay more attention to the Commonwealth countries.
Once upon a time it was easy for Commonwealth citizens to come and work in the UK, to trade with Britain and to get visas to come to the UK.
But since the EU bloc became bigger and bigger, with cheap labour coming from the new arrivals, the African from the Commonwealth lost relevance in UK’s labour market.
At least these were my views and reasons why I voted ‘leave’.
But it was with a heavy heart that I voted ‘leave’ because I knew that other voters in the voting booth were voting to leave most probably for the presence of people like me in their country.
So why did many Africans vote ‘leave’?
Farai Sevenzo, in his letter from Africa, ‘Britain’s African migrants who backed Brexit’ (BBC News June 28 2016), states that: “The African migrant who voted to leave was as fearful of the new arrivals, of his or her chances in a crowded job and housing market, as was his indigenous British neighbour.”
He also wrote: “Employers did not worry about visas for EU citizens and a huge pool of labour with freedom of movement had simply locked out non-EU citizens from the skilled as well as the unskilled job market.
“Even the NHS and care sector, which had relied so much on African professionals, began to forget them in favour of the new EU arrivals.
“It was also feared that with Albania, Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro waiting to join the EU, the African worker could tumble to the bottom of the working pile,” (BBC News).
One of my friends who voted ‘leave’, said: “I do not agree with Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson and how they have highjacked the Referendum to further their anti-immigrant sentiments.
“It is a shame really that they are abusing the genuine concerns of the British people for their personal and political mileage, but I do not think the EU should continue to make laws for Britain.
“I also voted ‘leave’ because I want all these EU migrants to be treated the same as we Africans are treated in the UK.”
Another colleague said she voted ‘leave’ because black people in the UK are blamed for any economic woes caused by migrants from other countries.
“When things become tough in the country, the white neighbours will look at you because you are visible, you are black, it is obvious you are not of European descent and they think you are the cause of their hardships,” she said. “The more migrants came from the EU the more difficult it became for the black person in this country.”
But with the amount of hate crime against ethnic minorities that has risen since the Brexit, one wonders if we, Africans, made a good decision to support the ‘Leave campaign’.
Both Channel 4 and the BBC News have reported increased incidents of hate crime against ethnic minorities, with one Asian woman saying she received a tweet saying that she should leave the UK: “Go Home #We Voted Leave time to make Britain great again, by getting rid of you blacks, Asians and immigrants.”
One Asian woman reported of how she was told: “Being born in Wales does not make you a Welsh.
“Go back to the slum.”
Another young Asian woman, also born in the UK, told the BBC how she was racially abused on a train and when she walked from the train: “I am no sitting opposite a P***,” when a white person refused to sit next to her on the train. Another person said to her: “I am pretty sure we voted ‘leave’, how come you haven’t left yet?
“Get out of our country.
“We gave you 48 hours, what are you still doing here?”
Elsewhere, incidents of racial abuse against migrants have been reported.
Condemning post-Brexit hate crime, the outgoing PM said on Monday: “We have a fundamental responsibility to bring our country together.
“In the past few days we’ve seen despicable graffiti daubed on a Polish community centre, we’ve seen verbal abuse hurled against individuals because they’re members of ethnic minorities.
“Let’s remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to this country.
“We will not stand for hate crime and these kinds of attacks.
“They must be stamped out.”
The UK vote to leave the EU is indeed a trying time for non-white migrants.
If an MP (Jo Cox) could be murdered in broad daylight for her belief in supporting refugees and remaining in the EU, what more for people of colour like myself and our children?
I have never felt so unsafe in the UK since I came here 16 years ago than I do now.


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