A Ryanair passenger calls an elderly lady a “black b******” and the steward asks her to move out of his way.
A woman sits on a bus wearing a coat telling people who can’t speak English to go home, and others tweet about it.
A man screams and shouts in Sainsbury’s at a black security guard, and he’s politely asked to leave. A woman spends 20 minutes on a train swearing at immigrants.
It’s easier than ever for people to record racism, whether it’s on a phone or at a police station. The footage mentioned above all appears to involve people who are not properly socialised, washed or sober. They, and their words, are easily dismissed.
But what cannot be overlooked is that the air steward asked the black lady to leave. That someone can hate aloud for 20 minutes on a train with plenty of people on it, and the worst that will happen is it goes on Facebook.
That’s what has changed since the Brexit vote – not just that racism is more noticeable, but that it is more acceptable to those who witness it.
Hate crimes rise, and someone finds a way to say it’s because the manner of recording it has changed. Jews start making plans to leave, and someone claims they weren’t British anyway.
There’s always an excuse, not least because saying this is all the fault of Brexit is vague and easily refuted by minorities who voted to Leave.
Really, it’s the fault of those who campaigned for Brexit. Who used immigration as the cheapest dog whistle they could find, demanded their views be given equal balance on news programmes, and happily promoted Nazi-themed posters threatening influxes of dark-looking foreigners that we were never at any risk from.
The fact that racists appropriated Brexit for themselves – that they stole austerity, stagnation and despair and turned it into hate of The Other – is what got us to the point where fascists are normalised by Newsnight and it is actually possible to buy a Nazi cookie cutter.
All right, it’s not in Lakeland yet – but how long until it is?
I grew up in the 1980s, when Britain had too many skinheads, National Front nasties and football hooligans. They were few and far between, and they weren’t likely to bother Delia Smith.
The Britain I grew up in was trying to get its head around people who were brown, but it was at least trying. The Britain we live in now has stopped bothering. Integration has become a one-way street to Anglo-Saxon behaviour, and some have forgotten that lot were once migrants too.
Increasingly it seems that when we voted to Leave we left our manners behind as well. We expect rudeness, excuse it and tolerate it. Few ever bother to defend another from it.
When we get upset about what our country has become, we take to the streets in our thousands but ask, only vaguely, for some sort of vote on whether we stay this way. As though being rude, racist, and vile, is an equally-reasonable option.
A second referendum on the same questions would draw a lower turnout than the first, and a smaller mandate. A three-way vote on whether to take Theresa’s deal, leave without one or Remain would split the vote three ways, and have no clear winner.
But since the first vote, a million Brits have died. The manifesto has been published, albeit two years late. There’s a clear democratic need for another say.
Luckily, we’ll probably get one. Theresa will present her deal to Parliament, which will be unable to decide. Theresa will face a vote of no confidence from her backbench wingnuts, and Labour will side with them to force a general election.
The only problem with that is there will be no second say, no democratic or logical need satisfied, unless Labour campaigns to Remain. And Labour is led by a man who doesn’t want to.
Surveys have shown the Labour heartlands that voted Leave now back Remain. A walloping 1.4m Labour-backing Leavers have switched sides.
There was a gap of just 1.3m votes in the Brexit referendum.
And if the past two years of Tory chaos have proved anything it is that negotiating Brexit is a ball-ache. It’s a task Jeremy Corbyn has no better chance of handling – the Northern Irish border is still insurmountable, the customs union and single market still off-limits without unaccountable payments and rules the country won’t abide.
But the country will abide them if we’re allowed to write them. If we can send elected representatives to sit on the committees, take part in the votes, and fight Britain’s corner. If such a deal came attached to, say, a third off the subscription, why it might seem quite an attractive idea.
But that’s the deal we’ve got NOW. That’s the deal we can keep, if we decide to take back our country from the racists overrunning it, the hate jockeys filling the airwaves with freedom of hate speech, the buffoons aware what a bad idea it is but chewing their own legs off anyway.
If Labour wants to Leave we don’t get a better Britain. We don’t tell the racists to shut up, we don’t find more money for mental health to fix them, we don’t get a general population any less tolerant of intolerance.
But if Labour Remains, the vast majority of Britain has hope. Hope that proper British values of optimism, openness and minding our p’s and q’s will return, and we get back to showing Europe how to have a proper cup of tea and democratic decency.
If Jeremy Corbyn is the democrat he claims to be, then he must bow to the will of the vast majority of Labour Party members, most of his MPs and shadow cabinet, and around 17million Britons and campaign to Remain.
Labour grew from people’s need for a voice. Its greatest successes came when Britain needed a government to overcome poverty, fascism and failure. We need it to do the same now.
A vote of some sort is inevitable. Hate doesn’t have to be.