Many were shocked and saddened by the UK’s Brexit decision, which favored a separation from the European Union, including some of the people who voted for it. The country was thrown into confusion, leading to Prime Minister David Cameron’s musical resignation and the appointment of Theresa May, who is determined to follow through by March of next year.
The Brexit vote, which took place in June, has had a somewhat devastating effect on the economics of Britain, but it has also taken a toll on the social fabric of communities. The BBC reports that the Home Office recorded 5,468 hate crimes in July of this year, compared to 3,886 in July of 2015. The sharp increase went down somewhat in August, but has remained overall higher than prior to the EU referendum.
The Guardian reports that the Liberal Democrats’ home affairs spokesman, Alistair Carmichael, believes the spike in racially motivated and xenophobic hate crimes is a direct effect of the campaign surrounding the vote to leave the EU, particularly by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage:
“Farage stood next to dehumanising posters that depicted people as hordes and then stood back shocked that their fanning the flames of prejudice had a reaction.
“Our government is treating the post-referendum landscape in the same divisive way. Telling 16 million people they are ‘citizens of nowhere’ is beneath contempt and not a way to treat those who believe Britain should be at the heart of Europe.”
The BBC notes that part of the increase may be due to people’s greater willingness to report these types of crimes, and better police logging procedures.