If this study is accurate, then we in Britain don’t really need to be too worried about the xenophobes in our midst. Apparantly we feel more positive towards immigrants – if only marginally – than most other European countries. That might be another reason for reversing Brexit, without now needing to fear the hostile reaction it would provoke. Here it is: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/02/britons-more-sold-on-immigration-benefits-than-other-europeans.
Actually I’ve always been sceptical of the impression that has been around for years that Brits are peculiarly hostile to foreigners. I don’t know much about other countries historically (apart from a little about Sweden), but it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find that xenophobia and racism were – and are – at least as common there as in Britain. A number of factors have combined to single the British out in this regard. One is their – literal – insularity. But that has never stopped Brits from travelling abroad more than most peoples, and not usually in search of imperial conquests; or literally millions of foreign Europeans coming to visit, work or settle in Britain over the past 200 years, for all kinds of reasons. The people mainly responsible for spreading the libel were British novelists, like Dickens, Thackeray and Lever, who found that they could make great comic fun out of portraying their own countrymen (and women) as arrogant isolationists and racists abroad. This was rarely countered – there’s not much amusement to be gained from Brits behaving well abroad – and the idea has, to my knowledge, never been tested by social historians since; properly tested, that is, in a way that would establish the extent of xenophobia in British life. Of course you can always find scattered examples.
At one time I was planning a new book about this aspect of British society, with the title Cosmopolis. It even made it to the stage of a synopsis and some sample chapters, and an acceptance (in principle) by a publisher. But then age and infirmity caught up with me, and I gave the project up. I’m still hoping that Bloomsbury Press will give me the go-ahead for a collection of essays on aspects of this theme, mostly published previously: a kind of European companion volume to my Empire Ways (2017); but I haven’t heard from them yet. Cross your fingers.