After the 2016 brexit vote, racism and xenophobia seemed to permeate britains air. overnight, the available and tolerant nation that i thought id developed inhad come to be an inward-looking location, condemned to an insular future. or thats just what everyone explained fellow remainers in particular.
But four years next referendum, and less than half a year following the united kingdom formally left the eu, boris johnsons pro-brexit government features tossed open britains doorways to up to 3m residents of hong-kong, responding to a different chinese safety law in the area. a week ago the foreign office estimated this might suggest the arrival of some 200,000 hong kongers into britain within the after that five years.
Yet there's been no real backlash from this citizenship provide, that'll not discriminate based on skills or earnings so long as an applicant holds, or is qualified to receive, an uk nationwide international passport. it had been welcomed by mps of all events, without an individual objection.
Opinion polls show the public approves, with those people who are aware of the offer supporting it by one factor of almost three to a single, in accordance with ayougov study. a warning from lobby team migration watch that had been an ill-conceived, half-baked concept, hence the federal government had been betraying its 2019 election pledge to reduce general immigration figures, received little interest.
It is tempting to place this response down seriously to the particularities of hong-kong. britain feels a historical link with the territory, and would like to endure an oppressive asia. britons in addition usually start to see the territorys largely ethnic chinese and cantonese-speaking population favourably, says ben webpage, leader of ipsos mori, a polling team.
The general public will tend to be much more positive about chinese folks for a combination of social as well as other views obtained for the chinese to be industrious, hard-working and passive, he says. the reaction might-have-been rather different in the event that expected influx ended up being of eastern europeans or muslims.
But theres even more to it than racial attitudes. in 1990, the government made a far less substantial provide to at the most 50,000 hong kongers and their own families. there clearly was an almighty conflict in parliament prior to the costs passed. meanwhile, only a third of those alert to the proposition approved from it, yougov information reveals.
The truth is, as a nation, great britain happens to be far more pro-immigration in recent decades, and because the brexit vote in particular. residents today view it both much more absolutely, so when a less pressing issue. in years leading up to the brexit referendum, immigration on a regular basis topped ipsos moris issues index of britains top ten biggest problems. it offers since dropped all the way down record. during pandemic, ithas droppedout of top ten totally. support for lowering general migration has additionally fallen to just 52 percent, having long been across the two-thirds level.
This can't be explained by web migration figures. although the amount of immigrants from eu has dropped sharply since the brexit vote, non-eu immigration hit a record high in 2019. it appears, instead, to be more info on that those who voted for brexit feel their voices happen heard. there has been a significant lowering of scare stories and a rise in positive development about immigrants, specially during coronavirus.
Many into the pro-immigration camp be seemingly reluctant to recognize the shift in attitudes, to some extent due to lasting fury concerning the referendum. theres a genuine failure to check out whats happened calmly, due to that feeling of loss and grievance, says sunder katwala, manager of think-tank brit future.
The united kingdom is very good at doom and gloom, yet not so excellent at highlighting places where there's range for optimism. and perceptions are very important in shaping plan, as bobby duffy, director for the plan institute at kings college london, points out.
If remainers are seriously interested in wanting britain become much more good on immigration, they ought to acknowledge that fears towards meaning of the 2016 vote had been misplaced, and that in terms of immigration attitudes are worried, things are going...kind of ok.