Multiculturalism in the context of Brexit
- Read the extracts of articles below, and write a short resume of what strikes you as interesting and important.
- Read the letters below, “Dear Europe”, written by JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Mary Beard, Jeffrey Boakye, Shami Chakrabarti, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Alan Hollinghurst, Michel Faber, Sandi Toksvig and Tony Robinson.
- How do they differ from the facts you read here? Write an article on your blog where you include your comments on the articles below and summarize the content from the Dear Europe letters.
Modern Britain is multicultural. Since the Second World War the United Kingdom has seen an influx of immigration that has radically altered its nature. The population has changed from one that was overwhelmingly white, ethnically British and Christian, to one constituted by creeds, cultures and communities drawn from all over the globe.
Thirty years ago, many Europeans saw multiculturalism—the embrace of an inclusive, diverse society—as an answer to Europe’s social problems. Today, a growing number consider it to be a cause of them. That perception has led some mainstream politicians, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to publicly denounce multiculturalism and speak out against its dangers. It has fueled the success of far-right parties and populist politicians across Europe, from the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands to the National Front in France. And in the most extreme cases, it has inspired obscene acts of violence, such as Anders Behring Breivik’s homicidal rampage on the Norwegian island of Utoya in July 2011. Source: Foreign Affairs.
The free movement of people in the EU and immigration more broadly was the single biggest issue on the table. Eighty-eight per cent of those desiring fewer immigrants into the country plumped for Leave. One week prior to the vote, Ipsos MORI found that 54% of likely Leave voters considered immigration to be the most important issue guiding their vote. In another poll, over 80% of Brexit voters believed multiculturalism, immigration and social liberalism are a force for ill. In the final weeks of the official Vote Leave campaign, there was precious little said about ‘global Britain’ and much more about immigration and ‘taking back control’. Source: Politics.co.uk
Britain is hugely divided across cultural, age and education lines, a major study of national attitudes has concluded, warning of a potential rise in far-right and anti-Islam sentiments unless politicians tackle long-standing disaffections behind the Brexit vote. There is a particular chasm between people living in affluent, multicultural cities and those from struggling post-industrial towns, according to the report from Hope Not Hate, based on six years of polling and focus groups. The study by the anti-fascism advocacy group, “sets out to understand the drivers of fear and hate” in England, and where data is available, in Wales and Scotland. It uncovers the often glaring extent of geographic splits between people of varying attitudes, with opposition to immigration and multiculturalism correlating closely with socio-economic deprivation. Source: The Guardian.
Dear Europe: From Paris to Berlin, fado to football, boat trains to pen friends … public figures reflect on their lifelong relationship with Europe. Source. The Guardian.
The letter was written on thin, pale blue paper. The handwriting was neat and rounded. My brand-new German pen friend, Hanna, introduced herself in excellent English. Our schools had decided that Hanna and I would be a good fit as pen pals because we were both, not to put too fine a point on it, swots. In a matter of months, I’d be going to stay with her Stuttgart-based family for a week, and shortly after that, she’d come and stay on the Welsh border, with me. I was 13. The whole thing was thrilling. Read the rest of the article here.