And so to one of the more prominent issues of the Brexit debacle: where now, for the Very Real Concerns of the British public?
(A bit of background here for new readers: every time the issue of immigration comes up, some nutless joker is guaranteed to issue baleful warnings that We Must Respect The Very Real Concerns Of The British Public Or Else, usually while finger-wagging every citizen to the left of General Franco. It's this that has led to the comical weekly spectacle of entire Question Time panels and audiences all agreeing that they mustn't be prevented from talking about immigration, live on national television).
Leavers and Remainers may not agree on much but in the aftermath of this enormous political and financial catastrophe, I'd like to think that every half-reasonable citizen would at least agree that the Concerns have turned out to be not Very Real at all.
The fact that we've even been discussing the Concerns stems from a political calculation. Every time a politician or other public figure mentions the public's Very Real Concerns, they're describing the universal phenomenon where notable influxes of people to any area are likely to cause resentment among the residents. As noted in a previous post, this happens regardless of race and religion. It's not very nice but it is a real and observable issue, and it's one that should be taken into account in planning for our future living arrangements.
Unfortunately for all of the fans of the Concerns, the EU referendum has graphically demonstrated that the Very Real Concerns don't just include resentment of outsiders and change. They also cover everything from people being annoyed about hearing other folk on their buses speaking foreign languages, to resentment of new shops catering to immigrants, to outright racist abuse in the streets.
This being the case, it's now become quite difficult* to pretend that the Very Real Concerns are not, you know, a bit on the racist side. If the R-word upsets you - and God knows, it drives lots of people out of their damn minds - then there are plenty of others: "prejudice", "bigotry", "unnecessarily being a cunt about it"... You can take your pick.
So this leaves our politicians and public figures in a bit of a bind. As a cursory glance will reveal, they've been pandering to the public's Concerns for well over a decade, and yet somehow the outrage has grown worse, to the point where Brexit is now endangering the finances of people who actually matter. As the parties have more and more openly sought to co-opt public racism for electoral gain, it's only made us crazier and more unhinged.
The choice then is to pick - do we continue to pander to an increasingly racist public, or do we instead risk telling the public that they're wrong?
This should be an easy choice for Labour who are, after all, supposed to be in favour of the man in the street and against this kind of thing. Racism is many things, but it's not a magic lamp that you can rub just right, and then command a genie to help the poor**.
There's no racism Laffer Curve, where you can achieve the maximum public good by pitching your politics at just the right level of prejudice. You can feed racism or you can oppose it, but you can't co-opt it to your will, because it will end up controlling you and ruining everything that you are supposed to be working for.
Because here's the deal - during the referendum campaign, the Leave campaign quite happily ripped off actual Nazi propaganda and propelled the nation into an unprecedented crisis, wiping out vast amounts of wealth.
And these are the people that the Very Real Concerners want to get into a game of Anti-Immigrant Bingo with? UKIP, for example, have shown that there are few depths to which they will not sink. Are you going to get down into the gutter alongside them? That's not going to win many votes; it will actively repel your own supporters, and it'll inevitably spark a long downward spiral into worse hate and worse disorder.
In the end, this is what the Very Real Concerns always were - a con, just a not-very-clever way for bet-hedging politicians to keep us all pootling quietly into the sewer at a slow and steady rate. Any attempt to play at racist one-upmanship with Nigel Farage is going to take us there on rocket propulsion.
So here we are. The entire nation can surely see that there's no such thing as "a bit racist", only racist or not. Which way are we going to jump?
I'm assuming that we'll go with "Continue just enough to keep the whole sorry show ticking along", but it wouldn't be the first time that I've been wrong, or the last.
*Difficult, but hardly impossible, if you're thick and shameless enough.
**I had a good think about this and pretty much the only instance of racism being successfully deployed in a way that broadly enhanced the greater public good, is the war in the Pacific in WWII. And I don't think that's a very helpful example, what with all the mass-murder and destruction of entire cities full of civilians, and so on.