Green MEP Keith Taylor has expressed shock at the steep rise in hate crimes across the South East and warns of dark days ahead, drifting into bigotry and hostility within communities, typified by the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election where inexcusable racism and prejudice are legitimised.
According to the latest figures, Kent recorded the highest rise in reported hate crimes in the region, but other areas of the South East have also witnessed steep rises. Surrey is the only area to witness a drop in the number of hate crime offences being recorded. The UK as a whole saw reported hate crime at its highest level ever recorded between July and September last year. Mr Taylor said:
“I am shocked by the instability and divisions that the vote to leave the EU have created. The Leave campaign’s disgraceful use of fearmongering around immigration and asylum seekers has undoubtedly fuelled this hatred. The election of a racist bigot to the Whitehouse will only further embolden those who want to sow division and hatred.”
However, the former Brighton Councillor went on to praise communities across the region for the strong stand they are taking against hatred and extremism. He said:
“I have been hugely heartened to see the fall in the number of hate crimes recorded in Surrey and to see people across the South East rally in their thousands against racism and hatred. In particular, we have seen huge demonstrations across the region in recent weeks against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, and almost two million people have signed a petition calling on the government to bar Trump from making an official state visit to the UK. I am especially proud of Brighton Pavilion residents who top this poll nationally: over 11,000 have signed, representing more than 1 in every 10 residents. These actions by the tolerant majority show that love trumps hate.”