BREXIT OPINION: Minorities have always been scapegoats

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Doncaster equality campaigner Nadeem Murtuja talks about his shock at hearing the referendum result, fears over rising racism and why Brexit is like Geri quitting the Spice Girls...

On the day of the EU referendum I was in Brussels, invited to speak on human-rights related issues.

It was the most surreal experience of my life as when I flew from the UK I had gone as European citizen with British nationality and when I returned I had lost my European citizenship.

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Heartbroken, looking for answers and leadership, I kept saying to myself: ‘I must respect democracy and the will of the people. I’m sure the people that so vehemently campaigned to leave will not renege on their promises and they will have a plan.’

Well, the fact is, there is no plan and the reneging has already begun.

I just don’t understand why the Electoral Commission, or even the Monarchy, does not step in - either abolish the Government or criminally charge politicians who have misled us.

For example, I want to know why the NHS will not receive the £350m we were promised and why Article 50 is unlikely to be triggered.

Speaking to people in Brussels, they all had one message and that is that in the future we can no longer blame them for the ills of Britain, particularly British people who feel abandoned.

The fact is, minorities have always been the scapegoats for the failure of institutions and politicians to transform the lives of poor people and this is despite the fact that minorities have consistently been discriminated against in public life and if they dare to challenge the status quo their voices are suppressed.

Now racist incidents are on the rise, with some people thinking they have a free license to abuse without consequences.

Those that speak to me have no confidence in the local council or police force, a point that is validated by South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s own police and crime plan.

On top of that, many of you will recall that I wrote in my column back in February this year that hate crime in Doncaster was not falling and although I attended a meeting in April to support the police and council develop this, I have not anything since.

Maybe it is because the commitments that I demanded for equality are commitments they simply can’t relate to or sign up to?

Finally, for me,the Brexit vote is comparable to when Geri left the Spice Girls, over-estimating individual talent. I just hope for the sake of the country the Brexit outcome for our children will not be the same...

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