The season is open for xenophobia. What is going on after Brexit?

Although the UK has technically left the EU, Brexit has developed into a cultural war for immigration.

Two million people have seen it live and at least six million have watched it on “social media”: last week on the BBC’s “Time for Questions” primetime political show, a female viewer unleashed a passionate tirade against immigration filled with hatred and forgeries.

She said: “We must close the borders completely. This country is filled with people who can’t speak English… At NHS, everything is written in different languages… You come by plane, you get free service, you can have children…”

None of the allegations were factual – and no one was surprised when, within 24 hours, it turned out that the woman was an active supporter of the English ultra-right leader “Tommy Robinson”. The panel tried to clarify it – but as a moment in British politics, it would be hard to forget.

It shows that for three weeks after the chauvinistic Jamboree that was the night of Brexit (January 31), Britain’s xenophobic rights were not in doubt. Even as Labour candidates for succession try to reassure pro-Brexit working class voters that the “dispute is over”, in fact, the dispute continues.

The clearest signal

Last week, Boris Johnson’s government gave the clearest possible signal that it will continue to fuel anger against all the old targets in the Brexit debate.

In a speech in Brussels, leading British Brexit negotiator David Frost warned the EU that Britain is prepared to withdraw from any meaningful trade dialogue if it fails to close a Canadian-style trade deal by December, when the transition period is over.

The UK is committed to cutting EU food standards, labour market rules and financial regulation, rejecting common standards requirements in favour of what Frost called “sovereignty”. And if it cannot get permission to do so through a trade deal, it will still do so.


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