Cardinal warns against England ‘trading in fear’ over migrants

The Church’s leading prelate in England and Wales has criticised his country’s leadership for “trading in fear” around the question of migrants and the Brexit referendum.

In an interview with the BBC, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster said it “what we seem to be living with is a kind of popular leadership which is basing itself on fear. It’s almost trading in fear…and that is the worst form of leadership”.

He went on to warn that in relation to Brexit and the questions of those seeking asylum, “it is perfectly clear the rhetoric is getting worse and more widespread”.

Culture of fear

The cardinal further pointed out that the media in Britain was playing into the culture of fear and stoking tensions by its coverage.

“Sometimes it is the media that gives an opportunity and creates an environment in which every item of news about migrants in this country is negative,” he said. 

“And that is I think untrue to the reality of this country and corrosive of our best nature and our best contribution.”


Acknowledging that the migrant crisis “is real” and one requiring “concerted effort to address it”, Cardinal Nichols said, however, “it needs to be addressed realistically with resources and proper legislation, but it’s almost impossible to do that in an atmosphere in which fear and hatred are the dominant features.

“It does nobody any good, this somewhat self-indulgent way in which people have begun to express themselves and their distaste and their hatred of people who they see as different. And that is creating a culture of fear among people who have been welcomed here. Nothing,” he concluded, “can be achieved if we start from a base of distaste, rejection and hatred.”