'Not Foreign': an open letter to the UK government on xenophobia

By Press Office
October 18, 2016

Ekklesa director Simon Barrow is among signatories to an open letter asking the UK government to reverse its 'anti-foreigner' rhetoric and policy direction. 

Backing has come from academics, NGOs, charities, researchers, public figures, artists, writers, campaigners, people of faith and many others across Britain. 

The independently curated letter, which proclaims "we are all diminished by xenophobia", and calls for an end to discrimination, will be closed to further signories and delivered to the Prime Minister soon.

So if you want to sign, do so straight away. 

The letter reads as follows:

[A]t Conservative party conference Theresa May derided those who subscribe to a cosmopolitan identity as “citizens of nowhere” and suggested that foreign doctors would only be able to stay in the NHS until “home grown” replacements could be trained. Companies may still be forced to “list” their foreign workers to government under proposals announced last week. 

Foreign nationals make an enormous contribution to this country’s culture, economy, and society. They have long helped to shape its common heritage and identity. They are not a separate caste in our society – they are our friends, partners, colleagues, and neighbours. A country robbed of these people is a poorer country in every sense: they are a part of who we are.

We therefore call upon the UK government to put a stop to this rhetoric and explicitly rule out any policies which are premised on dividing workplaces and communities based on where people were born.

By choosing race and ethnicity as the marker of who belongs and who does not, the UK government is indulging in xenophobia. As the children and grandchildren of those who fought fascism, we have a duty, in defence of our shared humanity, to resist state sanctioned discrimination based on nationality and to condemn policies that seek to restrict the rights and freedoms of citizenship to those who subscribe to an exclusive ethnic or national identity.

We call on Theresa May to put a stop to her government’s bitter, racist and divisive language. And we call on all of those who support an open, tolerant and inclusive vision of our country to join together, in solidarity, to oppose the actions of this government over the past week.

Signatories (alphabetical, then in waves)

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.