Anti-multiculturalism ideology in the UK is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s social climate. Multiculturalism is under threat by those who frequently disregard the gains that the UK has incurred as a result of inclusion, with statistics suggesting that 81% of people who believe multiculturalism to be a force for ill voted for Brexit. This is unsurprising given the circumstances with which Brexit was led. The ideology behind Brexit maintained that it is individuals from outside of Britain that are tarnishing the country by creating a multi-cultural hub that is responsible for the UK’s economic strain. Considering this, it is apparent that Brexit may have been the metaphorical veil that anti-multiculturalists were longing for.
The problem is that this veil hides a breeding ground for racism and xenophobia – two constructs firmly entwined. A study by Migrants’ Rights Network found that many migrants believed their local community voted to leave the European Union because ‘they felt there were too many migrants locally or in the UK, they believed Brexit would mean migrants would have to leave the UK, or because of racist or xenophobic views.’
What those against a multi-culturalist Britain fail to see is the value of migrants beyond economic input. The UK’s creative industries, for example, thrive thanks to the talent of both EU and non-EU migrants. Through migrant literature, individuals are offered the chance to better understand society and its intersections; if Britain wishes to maintain its reputation as the world’s lead for creative industries, it would be detrimental to hinder the chances of creatively talented individuals applying for British citizenship. When considering that Penguin Random House UK’s top 10 markets in relation to foreign language skills comprise of Germany, China, Brazil, Italy, France, Spain, Holland, Poland, Sweden and Japan, it becomes apparent that Brexit will undoubtedly hit the UK’s literature industry. With such an evident reliance on interpersonal skills and abilities to connect with various cultures, it is clear that both EU and non-EU nationals are crucial to the success of the UK’s creative fields.
Unsurprisingly, a reported 96% of the UK’s creative industries voted to remain in the EU; this demonstrates a vast awareness of how invaluable it is to work alongside gifted individuals from across the globe. It is clear that the impact of migrants on specifically the publishing industry is multi-faceted. The UK’s literary heritage is a compelling representation of the beauty that can arise as a result of cultures coming together. A report by Spread the Word supports this theory, suggesting that for UK literature to prosper, it must ‘reflect the complexity of the cultures and society it is responding to’. Without the perspectives of a diverse range of authors, British literature may be set to decline, becoming irrelevant and out of touch with its audience.
Unfortunately, it would be wrong to consider the loss of talent to the publishing industry the only blow that it will face as a result of Brexit. As explored by the Creative Industries Federation, the creative sector generates £87 billion a year. Having a strong relationship with Europe has allowed British publishers to enjoy the financial benefits that come with exclusive English-language rights to books sold continent-wide. Britain risks losing these benefits post-Brexit, and therefore its strong hold on the industry is likely to diminish. This is due to the fact that American publishers will become a factor in what will be deemed an ‘open market’. Such transformative change could have catastrophic consequences to the UK’s economy.
The influence of Brexit on the publishing industry is only further exacerbated by the Government’s proposition that workers from outside of the UK wishing to work for a long period of time must meet a minimum salary threshold. This proposed minimum salary is expected to be £30,000. With ALCS’ 2018 figures emphasising that the average annual salary of authors in the UK is around £10,500, the threat of a loss of multiculturalism to the literature and publishing industries is imminent. This demeaning approach to assessing worth focuses shallowly on migrants’ income and not their ability.
In view of the detrimental effects that Brexit will inevitably have on the literature and publishing industries, it is advised that the Government promptly reforms its restrictive immigration policy. Failure to do so will likely result in Britain’s demise as a cultural hub of talent and diversity. In order to maintain its place at the table, xenophobia and racism must be eradicated. The unwavering success of our creative industries must be attributed to migrants; we ought to celebrate their contributions – not take this for granted.