Brexit-Trump Comparisons Miss Key Points
The ‘austerity’ policies pursued by conservative British governments have sharply slashed social spending. The austerity cuts in areas from education to housing to health care and jobs creation have impacted lower income whites and non-whites alike albeit slamming non-whites more harshly due to institutional race-based deprivations.
Over 35 percent of the non-whites in Britain live in poverty compared to 17.2 percent of whites, according to a report released in September by Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission. That Rights Commission report listed the unemployment rate for blacks at 12.9 percent compared to 6.3 percent for whites. Another indicator of institutional deprivations is the fact that blacks with college degrees earn 23 percent less than whites with the same degrees in Britain.
British austerity is similar to budget-cutting initiatives pursued vigorously by conservative Republican politicians here in the US.
Some of the poorest regions in America and Britain are predominately white areas that have been controlled for years by conservative politicians who’ve provided more tax cuts to corporations than increases in economic opportunities for their lower income white constituents.
The area in England consistently listed among the most deprived, Tendring, where whites comprise 97.5 percent of the population, gave Brexit 70 percent of its votes. Britain’s ruling Conservative Party (which enacted the austerity policies) and Britain’s ultra-conservative United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) control Tendring. Voters in West Virginia, the state persistently ranked as having the highest levels of poverty among whites, gave Trump 68.7 percent of their votes.
Activist Jasper noted, “I certainly don’t think all Brexiters are racist. However, I have never met a racist who wasn’t a Brexit supporter.” America’s KKK endorsed the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump as did other white supremacist organizations –- endorsements which Trump declined only tepidly to accept during his campaign.
Leaders of the Brexit and Trump campaigns have denied exploiting racial and religious bigotry in their respective campaigns.
Yet, those denials clash with the realities of the incendiary rhetoric each campaign embraced.
Additionally, persons elevated to ranking governmental posts in the wake of the Brexit and Trump victories have histories of engaging in racial discriminatory behaviors.
Trump selected Steve Bannon as his top White House advisor. Before joining Trump’s campaign in late summer Bannon had headed the virulently anti-immigrant/anti-Semitic/pro-white supremacist Breitbart website.
Britain’s post-Brexit Prime Minister selected London’s former mayor Boris Johnson as her Foreign Secretary – the position comparable to America’s Secretary of State. Johnson’s mayoral tenure was marked by racially discriminatory actions. Johnson, like Bannon, shares past service in a key role in a media outlet frequently castigated for racist content.
Respected British journalist, publisher and social observer Duton Adebayo wrote shortly after the June Brexit vote that the anti-immigration emphasis of Brexit campaign rhetoric “allowed” racism to rise again in Britain. Adebayo, a top-rated BBC radio broadcaster of Nigerian ancestry, wrote that Brexit enabled racists to “come out boldly and claim that they are not racist but just anti-European Union immigration policy.”