Brexit, Migration and Politics of Fear

On face value, the EU referendum concerned whether the UK chose to remain within or chose to leave the EU. Despite the choice to leave the EU, a major political fault line emerged between the ‘remainers’ and the ‘leavers’ that continues to dominate political life in the UK. The campaigns conducted by the two camps have been widely described as “fear” campaigns. Digging beneath the surface, many have identified that fears relating to immigration were significant. This paper offers a critical account of this fear. Employing scholarship that has interrogated the “politics of fear” and situating this within the context of gendered and racialized dimensions of borders, parallels are drawn between some of the campaign rhetoric and media portrayals on the one hand, and, law and policy relating to refugees in particular on the other, as an informative process in light of the potential that the described political fault line is likely to further restrictive immigration practices.