It seems Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has departed from reality.
His claim that older people who voted ‘Leave’ wanted to return to a world where “faces were white” is not supported by history – or the current facts of EU immigration.
In case anybody has forgotten, Britain has been multi-racial for centuries. There have been non-white faces in our crowds throughout the lives of even the oldest people in the United Kingdom.
In fact, recent revelations have suggested that the first human beings on these shores had dark skin pigmentation.
The Roman Empire, the slave trade, the collapse of the British Empire and the arrival here of people from other countries as a result of that – all brought people of different skin colour to the UK, before we joined the EU.
And has immigration from the EU brought a huge influx of people of different colour? Not in This Writer’s experience.
I know people from Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, and other countries who have come here to work. All of them are white (and, as it happens, really decent people – hard-working, polite, and great company).
I don’t think the older people who voted Leave (many didn’t, remember) did so because they don’t like to see faces of a different colour from their own.
I think they did it out of nostalgia for a Britain that they remember as being strong in its own right, rather than a small part of a much larger bloc.
I think they associate the weaknesses of the UK with our membership of the EU – probably a false connection, in my opinion.
The vast majority of our time in the EU has been spent with a neoliberal government in Westminster – either under Thatcher/Major/Cameron/May or Blair/Brown – that have concentrated on the financial and service sectors of the economy rather than manufacturing.
In fact, the Conservatives deliberately destroyed the UK’s manufacturing base in order to weaken the strength of employees in pay negotiations at a time of full employment.
I would suggest that it is successive British governments that have weakened the UK – not the EU. Mr Cable was a part of that, as a senior member of the Coalition government formed by the Tories and Lib Dems between 2010 and 2015.
Perhaps he isn’t trying to call older voters racists.
Perhaps he is just trying to shift the blame.
Sir Vince Cable has denied suggesting older Brexit voters were racist.
In a speech at his party’s spring conference, the Lib Dem leader said too many older people who voted Leave longed for a world where “faces were white” and were “driven by nostalgia”.
Tory MPs have labelled the comments as “wrong” and “unwise”.
But Sir Vince called it a “simple truth of the matter” that the majority of the older generation voted Leave while younger people favoured Remain.
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