Brexit refers to Great Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU). The referendum was held on 23 June 2016, but the actual Brexit agreement wasn’t in place until the end of December 2020.
The whole world was in shock after the vote, because Britain has been in the EU since 1973, and is the first country to formally leave the EU, after 47 years (Mustad, 2020).
The Brexit debate gathered citizens in the UK along two camps: “Remain” and “Leave”. Although there was no direct link between those two camps and the main political parties in the UK, Remain has largely been formed by left-winged voters while the conservatives supported Leave in large numbers.
The Brexit referendum has been extensively discussed in the UK, both before and after the actual vote. Topics such as economy, autonomy, immigration, culture, identity and many others have been part of the debate.
However, many of these topics have been covered in a fairly isolated way in the mainstream media.
Immigration for example has proven to be a prioritized topic in media coverage, especially in the news outlets which have strong ties to the Leave supporters (Horne, 2018).
The topic of immigration could not have had such an interest in the media if there wasn´t any interest or prejudice to start with.
Prejudice is to some extent nothing new in the UK, but has become more significant due to economic problems and perceived competition from other Europeans (Cook & Dwyer, 2012).
This is not to say that UK became more racist as such; it was first of all a growing general opinion that the limited jobs and resources in the UK should not be shared with more immigrants (Hutchings & Sullivan, 2019).
Even if racism is not the same as intolerance for immigrants, both are aspects of prejudice: judging somebody´s person, values, economic contribution based on external factors such as nationality.
Plenty of academic research has already uncovered that prejudice appears in different forms:
Those who score low on prejudice in general, those who feel a clear and outspoken prejudice towards other groups, and those who appear to show implicit prejudice, of which they may not even be aware (Hutchings & Sullivan, 2019).
Further research by Sullivan and Hutchings has concluded that the group of people scoring low on prejudice is between 23- 30% of the UK’s population.
The group of people who have clear feelings of prejudice seems to be in between 25-30%.