20/03/2014 Jean co-signed a letter to The Guardian about the European Parliamentary election on May 22nd, MEPs anti-racism work, and Saturday’s anti-racism rally in central London:
As the European and local elections approach in May the political agenda is becoming increasingly dominated by attempts to appeal to voters by drumming up racism and xenophobia. This vying by mainstream parties to be the most trenchant on immigration has even led the government to suppress the facts about the impact of immigration on unemployment.
Leaving this discussion unchallenged is deeply dangerous. The scapegoating of immigrants for economic and social problems may be convenient but it is both false and leads to real discrimination and abuse of minority communities. For mainstream parties to get caught up in the slipstream of this destructive agenda will not raise their votes but instead plays into the hands of the more extreme exponents of this racist and xenophobic politics, whether the authoritarian, far-right variants like the BNP or the populist version of UKIP, which calls for an end to all immigration – whatever the economic and social cost – while promoting ‘Little Englander’ , isolationist policies across the board.
Alongside the campaign against potential Bulgarian and Romanian migrants that dominated the tabloid media at the beginning of the year, hostility to Muslims also remains a constant feature.
Very few voices have been raised against this dialogue of hate and prejudice. This is creating a dangerous slippage where anti-immigrant, xenophobic, anti-traveller and racist views become normalised within the mainstream political debate. We have therefore decided to take the occasion of the annual UN Anti-racism Day to organise a counter-blast and celebrate our diversity and the contribution of all. The scapegoating of migrants and Muslims is a blight on society. We hope that everyone who agrees with us will join us in Parliament Square, London, at 11am on Saturday 22 March.
An abridged version of the letter appeared here .
More information about Saturday’s rally can be found here .