Could the Remain campaign’s arrogant assumption that they have the support of ethnic minority voters be their downfall?
While the Remain campaign may arrogantly assume that it has the support of all ethnic minority Britons in the coming EU referendum, this is absolutely not the case.
I share the view of leftwing politicians like my former MP, the late Peter Shore. The EU debate isn’t about bent bananas or migrants on the take; it’s about democracy. There doesn’t seem much point in electing MPs if their votes can be overridden by supranational institutions like the EU or tax-dodging corporations. Much of the apathy and cynicism towards politics is a result of people feeling that real power is somewhere else and not in the ballot box. I’ve seen the EU described as “post-democratic”. Some of us would prefer the real thing back.
Meanwhile, if it’s true that there are growing numbers of BAME voters down the golf club worrying about all these Polish plumbers, I’m taking the positives from that. It proves integration works – we’re becoming just like our white counterparts.
Mitchell makes exactly the same case for Brexit as many other principled eurosceptics – because whatever the cynical Remain camp may say, this referendum has absolutely nothing to do with race or identity politics, and everything to do with democracy.
Something to remember next time the rootless Remain campaign attempts to smear eurosceptics by latching on to the pitiful rantings of Brexit’s worst ambassadors.
Belatedly, some on the Remain side (particularly those on the Left) are starting to wake up to the fact that they take ethnic minority voters for granted at their peril in this referendum, and are scrambling to prepare exactly the kind of divisive, identity politics-based overtures to such voters that one has come to expect from the Left.
In February, Left Foot Forward noted:
The ‘in’ camp cannot stick its head in the sand while [UKIP immigration spokesman Steven] Woolfe and Nigel Farage talk about the Commonwealth at every available opportunity, in a direct appeal to BAME voters.
EU supporters need to engage directly instead of sticking rigidly to arguments about the benefits of the EU more generally.
[..] Aligning issues which resonate more with ethnically-diverse communities alongside the standard pro-Europe arguments makes common sense and will help remain campaigns to feature more in places like The Voice.
The fact that a whole side of the EU debate is being outfoxed by a single UKIP member with no track record of working in BAME communities is embarrassing to watch. It’s not like the ‘remain’ campaign weren’t alerted to the ethnic gap in their strategy before.
While Labour continue to digest the need to raise their game on racial diversity, having marginally slipped further back against the Tories on BAME votes at the last election, it is disappointing that a pro-EU campaign driven largely by progressives has not absorbed these lessons. There is still time.
Meanwhile, the Independent squeals indignantly about UKIP having the nerve to appeal to black voters (who of course should blindly and gratefully do whatever they are told by sanctimonious lefties who have “their best interests” at heart):
Putting the Brexit debate aside, Woolfe’s comments are problematic for a number of reasons. Ukip is not a party known for its concern for the wellbeing of Black people living in Britain, but rather its concern about Black people living in Britain. Indeed, to consider Ukip and racial progress in the same breath often feels like something of an oxymoron.
So to suddenly feign concern for the lives of Black Britons in an attempt to gain Black British support for the EU Out campaign seems both disingenuous and offensive.
[..] Absurdly, Ukip now expect Black Britain to be complicit in the stirring of such a climate of hate through simplistic scaremongering. However, while Woolfe continues to refer to ‘evidence’ that supposedly suggests Black Britons are opposed to EU membership, substantive research from the Runnymede trust finds that Black Britons are divided and largely ambivalent on the issue.
[..] Shifting xenophobic arguments from one oppressed group to another, however, isn’t exactly the inspiring narrative that Black communities are looking for when deciding which way to vote on a possible Brexit.
How dreadfully problematic.
Top Image: BBC
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