Socialist Worker

Beat back the bigots as hate crime reports rise by a fifth

Racists are lashing out but there’s no Brexit breakthrough for the right, reports Sadie Robinson

Issue No. 2514

Out of the running - Ukips Paul Nuttall

Out of the running - Ukip's Paul Nuttall (Pic: European Parliament)


New figures show a rise in reports of hate crime. Some 6,193 incidents were reported across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the four weeks since 16 June, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

The most common offences reported were harassment, assault, verbal abuse and spitting. This includes homophobic, transphobic, racial, religious and disability hate crime.

There were 3,001 offences reported between 1 and 14 July. This was a 6 percent drop compared to the two weeks before, which saw 3,192 reports. But the figure is a 20 percent rise on the same period last year.

It is difficult to know the true figures as many crimes will go unreported. But any rise in racism and hate crime is worrying. Socialists stand in active solidarity with those facing attack.

Some racists are emboldened because they believe the vote to leave the European Union (EU) meant voters supported them.

They are wrong.

Just 14 percent of people who voted Leave said they thought multiculturalism was very much a force for ill, according to the largest study of the result.

Just over half of Leave voters said immigration had no impact on them personally. And the main reason given for their vote was a desire to have more control over laws in Britain.

Most people in Britain aren’t racist.

Solidarity actions and collecting aid for refugees in Calais has involved very large numbers of people.

A protest to say refugees are welcome in Britain drew over 50,000 last September.

But many people have contradictory ideas—and politicians have consistently encouraged anti-immigrant feeling.

Yet so far the far and hard right have failed to make a breakthrough. A number of Nazi protests by groups such as the English Defence League and Britain First continue to attract only small handfuls of people. Anti-racist protesters often outnumber them.

And Ukip, which many feared would gain from a Leave vote, is in disarray. Ukip’s share of the vote in council by-elections has fallen since the referendum.

Its leader Nigel Farage has resigned. Deputy leader Paul Nuttall has said he won’t stand to replace him. Ukip MP Douglas Carswell and Welsh Assembly member Mark Reckless can’t stand as they haven’t been in the party for five years or more.

Nominations close on 31 July.

West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge is one of those who has so far put himself forward. His policies include cheaper beer, bringing back smoking in pubs and the death penalty.

Despite Ukip’s troubles there is no room for complacency. It is time for determined and extended anti-racist activity.

Stand Up to Racism this week launched a petition calling for guarantees of the rights of EU nationals in Britain. See bit.ly/29Zv2BE

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