A letter from… Brexitville, UK
In Boston, Lincolnshire, 75% of people voted leave in the EU referendum. In neighbouring South Holland, the proportion was 73.6%. Robert Sheard, minister of three churches in the two most Eurosceptic districts in Britain, reports
This area of Lincolnshire is very dependent on agriculture – we’re one of the biggest producers of veg for the country: cauliflowers, cabbages and potatoes, and flowers too, though not as much as in the past. It’s one of the poorer places in the country. Houses prices are lower and much of the work is manual, in factories or on the land. People get by but there is some unemployment and wages are low. The farming industry really relies on migrant workers – they take up the bulk of the back-breaking picking work in the fields.
I wouldn’t say there is a great deal of racial tension. There is some friction and some misunderstandings, because of cultural differences, but the majority of people rub along together. There are a lot of new mini supermarkets run by ethnic minorities, and most people are fine with that, but some are concerned that too many of them sell alcohol. There are stories about shops being found illegally importing goods but not prosecuted, or of immigrants being jumped up the queue at the doctors. That kind of thing breeds a bit of resentment, but there is more conflict between the different migrant groups than between them and British people.
The reasons local people voted to leave the EU were varied. Immigration was part of it, but a lot of older people were more concerned that they voted to join an economic community and instead it has become a superstate. There’s also a feeling that we need workers here from all over the world, so why should people from outside the EU have to jump through more hoops? …
This is an extract from the September 2016 edition of Reform.