The total of racist incidents reported since the referendum result is supposed to be 85. Frankly, I imagine the figure is much higher, if you count the teeth-sucking, near-pavement spitting and sotto-voce insults. Nothing excuses such behaviour, but there is, I think, a reason for it. This was a momentous vote and the first time in decades that the mute, the voiceless, the inarticulate, strata of our nation that owns little except their national identity was heard. Their joy at being heard was intense. Much drink has been taken. Inhibitions have been lowered and the nation has been openly discussing immigration, nationality and racism (or non-racism) for the past few weeks in a way that would have been unimaginable even two or three years ago. So tight and repressive a lid has been forced on matters of race and nationality for the past twenty years that the whole thing has fermented. Brexit uncorked the pressure, and these truly unpleasant and inexcusable incidents happened. That's what people do when they first experience the rush of empowerment.
So far, there have no fatalities, no rapes, very few physical contacts and it seems mostly to be verbal, or graffiti. Let's hope it stays that way.
When the American army entered Germany in 1945 their behaviour could have been little different to that of the Russians in Berlin. Panicky military police consulted with the generals as incidents of theft and robbery, assault, breaking into homes to loot and armed threats multiplied. The Germans had put up a hard fight, the front-line units had taken heavy casualties and now they were letting-off steam. The commanding general unofficially gave them a couple of weeks of 'Kentucky Windage' - with the MPs diverting their gaze from all crimes except rape and murder. After that, the letter of the law was enforced.
Now I'm not suggesting there be any amnesty here for criminal acts, but neither am I going to excoriate the vocal racist insulters for incidents over the weekend. However, it must cease now. Leave and Remain, native and immigrant, pale and dark must get on with keeping Britain going - our real enemies are in Brussels, not on the bus.