The concerns over the effects of Brexit and the rhetoric surrounding it are certainly legitimate, and now the Equality and Human Rights Commission has warned politicians that their rhetoric has helped “legitimise hatred.”
As we have discussed before, ever since the Leave vote was cast in June, there has been a rise in homophobic, racist and anti semitic attacks which the EHRC describes as “stains on our society.”
The statement to the politicians reads: “There are those who used, and continue to use, public concern about immigration policy and the economy to legitimise hate. The vast majority of people who voted to leave the European Union did so because they believe it is best for Britain and not because they are intolerant of others.”
They EHRC are asking for the government to tone down the language used by politicians in order to minimise and fight back against hate crimes. They are also suggesting that a review of hate crime sentencing and sentence length be conducted.
“Politicians of all sides should be aware of the effect on national mood of their words and policies. Your offices bring with them a responsibility to ensure that policy debate is conducted in a way that brings the country together and moves it forward. Robust discussion is a central pillar of our democracy and nothing should be done to undermine freedom of expression.”
“The right to free and fair elections supported by accurate information and respectful debate is also essential to our democratic process. Our elected representatives and the media should reflect and foster the best values in our society and engage people on contentious issues in a responsible and considered way.”
What are your thoughts on this? While we musn’t censor, many would argue that it is the responsibility of people in power not to abuse language and manipulate people to gain power when the result will clearly be a rise in hate motivated attacks.