Despite all the arguments, all the protests and even a recent election, on 31st January 2020, Brexit actually happened. But no matter what the opinion, it felt as though there was a collective sigh of relief from Britain on this day because all the bullshit around Brexit was finally over. This meant that even though there was a strong feeling of melancholy weighing down half the country, the controversial conversations on immigration would settle down, people could stop getting so defensive and, of course, the NHS would finally see that £350 million that a side of a bus had promised them. Even though it had only taken three and a half years of negotiation, the Brexiteers had finally won. That was that.
Yet somehow, the xenophobes keep on crawling out of the woodwork! People voted to leave the security of the European Union
in fear of hearing a foreign language being spoken next to them to support the fishermen (yes, that was people’s real excuse). And yet the government, who are headed by a man who compared women wearing Burka’s to letter boxes and called gay men ‘bum boys’, have come out saying that only ‘skilled workers’ with a certain level of English can enter the UK. Who on earth would have thought that would have happened!?
In a recent story, a man who voted to leave the EU claimed “this isn’t the Brexit I voted for” as he waited an hour to have his passport checked at an Amsterdam airport. Although travel changes won’t be affected by Brexit for another year, I’m afraid, yes, this is part of the treat those holding a British passport will be in for when entering Europe.
And it’s the ripple effect that this way of thinking is having on society. This colonial ‘British (white) people deserve more rights’ than other people way of thinking that is creating a wave of hatred and right-wing extremism that is all-out wrong!
On BBC’s Question Time on Thursday, a woman in the audience went on a xenophobic rant suggesting that “we completely close the borders” because “we are sinking”. Whether or not she meant this in a literal or metaphoric or sense, these outward opinions are detrimental to the way we treat people in the UK. Luckily, the journalist Ash Sharker was able to deflect the audience member’s views by saying, “What has been found is that migrants to this country bring more and contribute more in tax than they take out of the system… it’s a fact.”
As part of bringing only “skilled workers” to the UK from January, the government has put a points system in place allowing people outside of the UK to be able to get a visa. People must score 70 points or higher to be accepted.
Under the new system, people must be offered a job by a sponsor and they must be able to speak English to a certain level. They most probably will also have to be earning above £25,600, something which many people on Twitter have pointed out will cause a lot of problems, especially when it comes to attracting people to work in the NHS. This is because an average salary for those in professional healthcare jobs, such as nurses, paramedics and radiographers, is around £24,000. And as the population ages, there will not be enough people in the UK to care for older people.
Even Priti Patel, a politician who is a huge advocate for the new system, admits that her parents probably wouldn’t have made it into the UK – yet continues to insist it is the best option!
As Sharker says, immigration has had a positive impact for the UK. Who wants to eat nothing but turnip soup and crab apple jelly – some of the only food that would be available if we had never had influence from other countries. And to ‘close the borders’ yet allow British people to travel where they want is nothing but hypocritical and all out racism in its truest form! People move countries for all sorts of reason, including an estimated 1.3 million of Brits who live abroad, btw. We are all people, we are all equal. Let’s make others feel welcome. After all, with 10% of NHS doctors coming from different countries, who knows who could be caring for you next time you need free healthcare.
Btw, Karen, how do you say “What a beautiful sunny day it is! To celebrate my love of your country, please can I order three glasses of your cheapest red wine and a saucer of those delicious olives I love so much” in Spanish again?