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Alexandra Bulat @alexandrabulat
, 17 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter

I was in Clacton, in a living room with Sarah, brother Sam & daughter Linda, small children & a few pets. All three adults voted Leave & UKIP.

This #TuesdayThoughts, I want to share bits of their story with you.

How did that happen? I asked Sarah.

"There are so many English families living in one room, yet they're letting all these in and they're housing them, having houses built for them!", said Sarah.

Who is being housed, I ask? Have you been waiting for a long time?
Brother Sam cannot walk after an accident and is unable to work. Sarah has a lung disease and also has been out of work for a few years. It's only Linda who works in the household, who has two small children and no qualifications. She's working on a vocational qualification now.
Sam tells me how he had to move in with Sarah: "I split up with my wife, and I didn't have anywhere to go [...] being paralysed, I went to the council and asked them to assist with housing and they said the entire housing stock has been used up because of immigration".
Sam, Sarah and Linda were convinced that the Government deliberately keep social housing for migrants and prevent disabled people like Sam from being able to live a decent life.

"It's the Government making us prejudiced, what are we supposed to think?", I hear Sarah again.
Linda is the only one able to work in the household.

"The Government is blaming us for not taking low paid jobs, well, I can't afford to."

Linda claims that, unlike migrants, she does not want to live with "20 in a house" and therefore needs a wage well above the minimum.
For three hours in that living room on a cold evening, I listened to Sam, Sarah and Linda linking every real problem with immigration: disabled Sam could not get a council flat, that Linda's kids did not get into a good school, that Sarah waited 3 months for urgent treatment.
"The amount of English people that have lost their homes, because they couldn't afford to work for less than a minimum wage and pay the bills and the rent. The Government go well, the migrants can do it! This is why the Government makes you prejudiced.", said Linda.
I could not sit there and blame Sarah, Linda and Sam for being "xenophobic" or "not understanding" migration. It was cold, the window was broken, the room was crowded and the future looked bleak. It felt I was back to one of my teenage friend's neighborhoods in Romania.
Sarah, Linda and Sam all believe that upon casting their Leave vote on the 23rd of June, the UK will be "out" by the next day, migration will be significantly curbed, Linda's children will have a place in a good school, Sarah will get quicker treatment and Sam a council home.
They wanted to all be "back as it was before", growing up in the East End in a council home, not being ill, with solidarity and community spirit. But those days were long gone. There was only hope left; the vote offered hope. They wanted to take back control - of their own lives.
I could not tell them it's unlikely to happen, in the same way, I could not tell the lady from the Commonwealth that it will likely not be easier to bring her mum to the UK after Brexit, unlike the Vote Leave canvasser promised her on the doorstep in June 2016. I cannot say it.
"The Government has made me prejudiced" was the overarching theme in our 3-hour conversation that evening. With cuts in health, schools, fewer council homes in the area, their lives were disrupted and taking back control was needed. But will life change for the better, as hoped?
Sam, Linda and Sarah were nice to me, they welcomed me in their house, offered me drinks, food and even cigarettes. Sam told me at the end our chat made him "reflect about things" and Sarah concluded: "tell you what, it's good to talk to somebody foreign about foreigners!"
I often stop and think about the problems Sarah, Linda and Sam faced. I imagine a Government who #BuildSocialHousing for Sam, with #NHSLongTermPlan treating Sarah's illness and better schools for Linda's kids. I ask myself if immigration would then still be a top issue for them.
Related to this thread, I wrote a piece on Jaywick @lsebrexitvote a while ago. Not exactly Sam, Sarah and Linda's story, but there are common themes:…
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