Welcome to post-Brexit Britain, where the safety pin has become a way of showing that you are immigrant-friendly
It’s been an odd week since the EU referendum. The palpable feeling of dread and confusion still lingers in the air as people wonder how the likes of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and George Galloway (yes, the guy who once pretended to be a cat on Celebrity Big Brother), managed to convince people to listen to their vision for the country.
A vision that doesn't seem to extend any further than turning Great Britain into Little England by making everyone afraid of outsiders and once again making Scotland regret not breaking up with us sooner. Since the result, there has been a wave of hate crime as many view the decision to leave the EU as a mandate for bigotry. But amidst the cries of ‘take back control’ and ‘migrants out’ a heartwarming movement has emerged.
In a bid to prove that not all British people are xenophobic, people are now wearing safety pins. The Independent reported: “Allison, an American woman living in London, told indy100 she was dismayed by the outpouring of racist abuse following the Leave vote. But she's also come up with a clever way to tackle it.”
American Allison decided to turn the household item into a symbol of solidarity to “let any potential targets know that the wearer is a friendly face.” To which “potential targets” everywhere rejoiced.
But soon the movement grew:
Despite the nice gesture, there is something incredibly depressing and almost patronising about the idea that people are now having to pin something to their clothes so you know it is safe to sit next to them on your bus home. Or that by wearing a safety pin you are somehow doing something to tackle the very real and persistent problem with racism in Britain. Something some Twitter users summed up perfectly:
So although the movement means well, the fact still remains that to tackle Britain's growing xenophobia much more needs to be done, and it may take more than a hashtag or a pin.