Dear Michael Gove, have you spoken to any UK migrants? Ever?

Michael Gove
Fréa Lockley

The mental health of thousands of children around the UK is breaking, as they sit the new GCSEs. These were Michael Gove’s ‘triumph’ as education secretary. Recently, he’s seemed relatively quiet, squirreled away as the environment secretary. But he’s back, championing Brexit. Again.

Now, he’s ‘celebrating’ the impact of Brexit on migrants.

Welcoming?

As reported on Channel 4 News, Gove said:

Britain has become more welcoming to migration since the Brexit vote.

Basing this on “opinion research” (no comment), he claimed that:

now Britain is one of those EU nations with the warmest attitude towards migration.

Sorry, what?

Many have taken to Twitter to remind Gove about some of the ‘welcoming’ Brexit ‘moments’:

Perhaps Gove needs some figures about hate crime, from real research. Because these show a very different picture of this ‘welcome’.

The government’s own figures [pdf, p7] found that, in 2016/17, police recorded 80,393 hate crime offences. This was an increase of 29% since 2015/16, which it said:

is thought to reflect… a genuine rise in hate crime around the time of the EU referendum

According to the Guardian, police thought “the spike in hate crime following the EU referendum was the worst on record”. Reports increased:

by 42%, to more than 3,000 allegations of hate crime across Britain in the week before and the week after the 23 June vote.

The UN committee on the elimination of racial discrimination (CERD) directly blamed pro-Leave politicians for this rise (are you listening, Gove?). It said:

British politicians helped fuel a steep rise in racist hate crimes during and after the EU referendum campaign.

It’s a situation that has not improved. In January 2018, Prof Tendayi Achiume – the UN’s special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance – said:

The environment leading up to the referendum, the environment during the referendum, and the environment after the referendum has made racial and ethnic minorities more vulnerable to racial discrimination and intolerance.

Exotic?

As The Canary previously reported, those arriving in the UK seeking asylum have faced years of “bad practices and poor decision-making [that] are putting lives at risk”. Far from ‘welcoming’.

Perhaps Gove missed the news about the thousands of UK citizens caught up in the Windrush scandal?

As if to prove beyond any doubt just how welcoming Gove’s Britain truly is, he ‘jokingly’ referred to Meghan Markle as “exotic”:

Writing in the Guardian, Nesrine Malik said of Gove:

He can stand in front of a nation that witnessed immigration become the second most important issue to voters, in the very headwinds of the Windrush scandal, and say that Brexit has made the UK more welcoming to immigrants.

As one person said:

There are many who agree with that sentiment.

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