The image above is, unfortunately, a real poster being displayed in the UK. Let that sink in for a second.
Let’s pretend for a minute that the poster is correct and Turkey’s EU membership is imminent.
The point that the poster is making is clear – even if you currently support keeping the UK in the EU, the idea of Turkey joining should be enough to change your mind.
So, what do we have to believe in order to reach that conclusion?
- Turkey joining the EU means that it will be easier for Turkish citizens to come into the UK
- This means that the number of Turkish citizens in the UK is likely to increase.
- The prospect of an increased number of Turkish citizens being in the UK is bad enough that people should change their minds about the UK’s membership of the EU.
The first point is absolutely right, as is the second. Freedom of movement does mean that there is likely to be more movement of people between the EU and Turkey and some of that is likely to be between Turkey and the UK. The people behind the poster must believe the third point otherwise they would recognise the poster as a waste of campaign resources that could be better spent on another argument. Nobody would waste money trying to convince people who already agree with them.
If you were already anti-immigration then the chances are that you are already anti-EU, so nobody can be expected to switch their vote simply because the poster mentions immigration. So, the target audience must be a set of people who are OK with everything about the EU, including immigration.
If the poster is directed at people who are OK with immigration but will change their minds when the immigrants are Turkish, then the only conclusion we can draw is that Vote Leave expects us to agree that Turkish people are intrinsically undesirable.
Now that is pretty damn racist.