This Saturday, a 40 year old citizen of Poland, Arkadiusz Jóźwik, was brutally attacked by a group of six teenagers on the streets of Harlow, Essex, and died later in hospital. He was living in Britain and employed as a factory worker and was assaulted merely because he was speaking Polish in the street.
This appalling and barbaric attack, just like the ultra-nationalistic murder of Jo Cox, immediately raises questions about what has happened to our country. A country which I, and people across the world have seen as a key example of multiculturalism working well. To say that each of those six youths had to be 'not well-educated' to commit such an act is an understatement. They can only have been educated/propagandised in the wrong direction; their attitudes and beliefs didn't just appear out of nowhere.
We, as a nation, cannot just sit on the knowledge that xenophobia and attacks driven by xenophobia and ultra-nationalism have risen since the referendum on leaving the EU. Because I can tell you this, both the hate crimes themselves and the attitudes that drive them can only belong in an uncivilised country. How has this all happened? There is no doubt about the role of the Brexit referendum. But when it comes to the notion that foreign nationals shouldn't be speaking their mother tongue on our streets, Nigel Farage's remarks, two years ago, that he felt awkward hearing other languages on a train, come to mind. I assume therefore, that the rule is that whenever two people, for example, travel to another country, they should only communicate to each other in the language of the country they are in and therefore have to refrain from talking the language of their home country?
That means therefore that whenever UK Nationals travel to the Costa Del Sol or Ibiza, they should only be allowed to speak Spanish, or Catalan in Ibiza's case, to each other in the street. Why don't we start by demanding that those of British descent in New Zealand should only speak Maori in the street and on trains? The truth is that I don't seem to remember Nigel Farage demanding that British Nationals on the continent integrate as eagerly as he demands that Foreign Nationals do so in the UK. Would the murderous youths in Harlow have agreed to forfeit their right to speak English in France?
There is no doubt in my mind that the argument that foreign nationals shouldn't speak their mother tongue on British streets is at its core an Anglo-Supremacist argument. It is the idea that English speakers have the right to move anywhere in the world (such as Australia or the Costa Del Sol) and bring their language with them (and even impose them on the indigenous population in certain cases) , while non-Anglo-Saxons shouldn't have the right even to speak their own language to each other while in Britain. It is the same attitude which has English speakers who have moved to other countries referred to as expats while Polish Nationals in the United Kingdom are referred to as immigrants. It even seems that some people believe that the world belongs to the Anglo-Saxons and that everybody else is second class. Any country in which such a self-supremacist attitude has any influence at all is a country with a problem it needs to deal with. I personally put the blame not only with UKIP but also the legacy of the British Empire and prejudices towards continental Europeans which seem all too prevalent in certain sections of British Society. It is worth bearing in mind that the vast majority of British Nationals on the Costa Del Sol don't learn Spanish, while I personally have not yet met a single adult Polish National in Britain who doesn't speak good English.
With regards to people moving from one country to another, we can't have one rule for some people and another for others. The one rule for everyone should be that you are allowed to speak the language of your Home Country to other people from your Home Country no matter where you are, but you must also learn the language of the country you have moved to. As for the perpetrators of such a crime, a just sentence would have them spend at least 20 years in Polish Prisons where they would be separated from each other and banned from speaking English. The British government should pay for their imprisonment and not the Polish taxpayer.