‘Commissioned advert makes EU debate loaded and messy’

June 11, 2016

Saatchi and Saatchi

LOWERING STANDARDS: The advert commissioned by Saatchi and Saatchi that to get more voters from ethnic minorities to vote has made atmosphere of the In/Out Referendum much more debased – according to Guardian journalist Remona Aly but the image was justified, says Operation Black Vote chairman Simon Woolley.

Priti Patel

OUTER LIMITS: Priti Patel, Tory employment minister, who claims the principle of free movement of citizens within the EU discriminates against those who live outside the EU area to live and work in the UK.


Harry Boparai

OPEN DOORS: Harry Boparai, who confronted Prime Minister David Cameron about community life in his part of London. He said in an interview with The Sun that some parts of his community were “living in pockets of their own culture” and not integrating.


A POSTER commissioned by supporters of EU membership has been panned for having the unintended consequence of dividing people on the basis of religion and race.

Saatchi and Saatchi, the advertising firm, were commissioned by Operation Black Vote to come up with a poster to encourage BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) voters to get more people from those communities to participate in this poll.

Critics say the poster – which shows a sari-wearing elderly, serene lady of South Asian background on one side of a see-saw looking at a tattooed skinhead – would only provoke sectarianism, and not bring people together and is part of a wilful, divide-and-rule strategy, using religion to justify it.

Prominent voices in the VoteLeave camp include employment minister Priti Patel and Spelthorne MP Kwasi Kwarteng, Fareham MP Suella Fernandes, Windsor MP Adam Afriye, Havant MP Alan Mak and Wealden MP Nusrat Ghani, who was previously mentioned on this blog having taken part in a Parliamentary debate on the fate of Middle East minorities.

OBV director Simon Woolley, who is calling out for the Remain camp, defended the advert.

“These potential voters could easily decide one of the biggest questions of the last three decades, whether we remain in the EU or leave.”

Writing in The Guardian about the advert, journalist Remona Aly says: “The referendum has predictably descended into a race-filled scrap, and last week that scrap turned nastier.

“There is an implication, intentional or not, that all Brexit voters are white fascists all ready to taunt the old auntie next door. By wheeling out drastic stereotypes, this limits what should be a broader and healthier debate about the referendum. Instead, it dives head-first into an already very loaded and messy argument.”

The controversy over this advert emerged prior to the explosive intervention of Harry Boparai, a UK citizen of Indian descent and Sikh background, confronting David Cameron on EU referendum debate accusing him of allowing parts of the UK to become “no-go” areas.

Interviewed in The Sun, Mr Boparai claimed multi-culturalism had brought separation and not integration, with some parts of his community were “living in pockets of their own cultures” in the borough of Hounslow where he lives and any “open-doors” immigration policy had to stop. In this interview, it appears he is talking about migration from outside the EU.

He said: “I’ve heard housing is at breaking. There’s no community spirit, there is litter everywhere and you feel vulnerable. This is no longer the place it was when I was young. It’s the way it is now because our open-door (immigration) policy. It’s horrific.”

However Priti Patel, who is one of six senior ministers in the Tory Government who are campaigning for a limit to the number of migrants coming into the UK, explained why this needs to be the case in a video posted on Vote Leave’s Facebook page.

“This is about control and a policy of controlled immigration, but also one of fairness. One that is much fairer and based on meritocracy as well. So people with the right skills that our businesses need, that our economy needs and our labour market needs as well, would have the chance to come and work as well.

“Many people – and we should be very clear about this – are outside of the European Union and currently the principle of free movement discriminates against those people outside of the European Union from coming to the UK to come and work here.”

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