To the editor:
Much has been written on Brexit — but Joe Keller’s letter that racism, xenophobia and isolationism drove Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and Mr. Marvel’s comments that immigration to England’s large cities contributed — are not supported by the facts.
“Vote Leave” the organization that coordinated the campaign to exit the E.U. was led by Gisela Stuart — a first generation immigrant born in Germany, who moved to the United Kingdom at age 19, naturalized as a British citizen and was elected a member of Parliament; Priti Patel, also a member of Parliament, is a second generation immigrant (her family having fled to Britain from Uganda) and was another leader of the campaign. Their presence as leaders of Vote Leave does not support the view that racism and xenophobia were the driving factor for the decision.
While Marvel is correct in saying that English cities have seen substantial immigration, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Newcastle all voted to Remain in the E.U. — hardly anti-immigrant.
So, why did British people vote to leave the European Union?
When asked, more than 60 percent of those voting Leave answered it was to reclaim sovereignty from an undemocratic and inward looking bureaucracy whose economic policies have contributed to unemployment rates of over 20 percent in Spain, Portugal and Greece — with youth unemployment exceeding 50 percent. An organization which — due to the lobbying power of special interests — has not negotiated trade deals with the USA, China or India. A leadership of the elite that is embarked on further integration against the will of the people in its member countries.
Rather than being isolationist those running Vote Leave campaigned on the UK being able to rejoin the global economy, to negotiate its own trade deals rather than being tied to a protectionist and declining Europe, and the ability for the UK to attract immigrants from across the globe — rather than being forced to give preference to Europeans.
Whether or not the democratic decision of the people of the UK was correct will only become apparent over time.
Sometimes — when reclaiming democracy from a distant and non-representative power — there is a period of dislocation, when things have to get worse in the short term for long term benefit; something the people of New Hampshire understood and embraced 240 years ago.
- Category: Letters