How the Anti-Migrant Sentiment Got Us Here

The Windrush scandal didn’t come from nothing.


The anti-migrant sentiment was decades in the making. The Windrush scandal should have come as no surprise, and those acting shocked now are either being disingenuous or have displayed an immense capacity for being oblivious.

We cannot forget what the UK truly is. It takes talent when it wants it and without consent disposes of it when it wants. This is the history of the UK. Our wealth is not ours, it was stolen. We invited migrants here when we needed them but now we threaten them with deportation. This is the UK’s legacy for the world.

Anti-migrant sentiment has been bubbling for decades. Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech may have been prominent, and gaining more attention of late thanks to the BBC, but it has always reflected an undercurrent of anti-migrant and especially anti-black sentiment in the UK. While legislation has certainly progressed since the era of Powell, it is questionable whether attitudes truly have.

“Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech may have been prominent, and gaining more attention of late thanks to the BBC, but it has always reflected an undercurrent of anti-migrant and especially anti-black sentiment in the UK.”

In the debates ahead of the 2015 General Election, Farage scare mongered about migrants who are HIV+, Ed Milliband stood in front of a lump of stone with the carved promise to cut down on immigration, Theresa May was responsible for the ghastly ‘go home’ vans, and Brexit quickly became a debate about the freedom of movement and stirring up fears about Polish and Romanian workers. Progressive? Unlikely even 48% of us are. Not even when Tony Blair is still parroting on about using the issue of cutting migrant numbers to placate Leave voters while trying to remain in the EU.

The Windrush scandal is a symptom of wider problems within the UK society. Even now, Labour who have a much more thorough opposition to the Tories under Corbyn, are still resisting attempts to make the system fairer by refusing to support automatic amnesty for migrants here for ten years or longer. There is still the lingering anti-migrant sentiment in society. It’s how Yarl’s Wood is still allowed to exist. This isn’t a debate about how we treat migrants; it’s still the same old debate about good migrants vs bad migrants.

If the UK wanted to change how it treated migrants then the debate would be different. We’d be scraping targets, the very concept of people being illegal and we’d truly address the political culture that gradually led us here over the decades. The Windrush scandal was predictable by the laws which were passed in Parliament. The problem is, nobody seems to want to protect other migrants from the same fate.

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