Just a week on from the Brexit decision, I am still grieving for the loss of what this defeat means for the future of our country, the language people see as appropriate to use towards one another, and the Pandora’s Box of race hate and xenophobia that has been unleashed as a direct result. Since the vote, many a self-identifying racist has told me to “pack my bags and go home” – with the first incident against me, which I reported, occurring at 8.31am on the morning of the result. I had just got back home from my local referendum count when I received a tweet telling me to do just that. The police believe it was the first incident of this nature as a direct result of the referendum outcome. The wounds that this campaign has inflicted on British society and culture are deep and will take a long time to heal – if ever at all. So I am upset at the language being used by some elected politicians in Wales about our minority ethnic communities. On the radio this week I listened to Wayne David, Labour MP for Caerphilly, talking about the EU Referendum and the reasons that Caerphilly – where I was born – had voted Out. David, a veteran Labour MP was asked by the presenter “In terms of hard figures, how much of an issue is immigration in Caerphilly?” He said: “Well, in terms of numbers it’s not an issue. I mean, I think the only people who have coloured skin, if you like, are people who run takeaways”. Caerphilly is actually beautifully diverse, and there are many people living and working there from all walks of life. Hearing such unsettling language from an MP makes me think there is a wider problem in the Labour party about understanding issues of diversity and equality. It was obvious he absolutely did not make the remark maliciously. But, for me, this made it worse; as the MP for the area, he felt his perspective to be true. That is all the more devastating. Historically, the word “coloured” (or ‘colored’ in the US) is associated with segregation, especially in America where black people were kept separate from white – on public transport, at drinking fountains, and in public space. Decades on we should not be hearing this terminology used to describe black, Asian or minority ethnic people in Britain, especially by our elected representative. I am proud to be Welsh and proud of my East African Asian heritage too. It astounds me that in this country we have some politicians who use offensive racial slurs, which recall a time of the civil rights movement and an era of racial segregation, as part of their day-to-day language even where there is clearly no offence intended. Does the use of such language tell us something deeper about the problems deeper within the current Labour Party? After I had pointed out the offensive nature of David’s comments, he issued a statement saying: “I apologise for any offence I may have caused for remarks on the radio yesterday. Ethnic minorities play a vitally important role in our society.” Though no doubt well meaning, this is disheartening. When you are elected you have a responsibility to the public. The Labour Party needs to introduce training for all elected officials on equality and diversity. They are elected to represent diverse communities and so should at the very least be able to understand those communities. On the issue of reported race hate crimes soaring since the Brexit vote, a Labour spokesperson in Wales has said “Labour Assembly Members and MPs are solidly behind any agenda that supports minorities. It’s important that we represent the interests of our communities and we condemn racism and bigotry.” But they are not succeeding in this vision if MPs are using language which divides rather than binds us. At a time when I have personally been urging members of the public to report unpleasant and offensive post-Brexit rhetoric to the police, and with the racial hatred and xenophobia spreading across the UK, hearing these words normalised by an elected MP is a disaster for community cohesion in all parts of Britain.