When on the 23d of June 2016 the United Kingdom made a historical decision to abandon its long-standing relationship with the European Union, it came as a shock to most outside observers and even to the British themselves.
This resolution has revealed an abyss between the urban and rural standpoints of UK population, as well as stark deviations among the countries. While Scotland and Northern Ireland chose to stay in the Union, England and Wales cast their votes against this long-lasting alliance.
Most cities turned out to be in favor of the EU, but it was not quite the case with more remote areas. Brexit shows how important it is for Britain to stop assuming that liberal London, Manchester and Edinburgh represent the entire population of the Isles. So, the UK should probably start paying attention to the public sentiment outside of its most bustling hubs. In this article I would discuss some of the key aspects of the Brexit movement which should help you write a perfect essay on this topic.
Britain aspired to be a part of the European Union since its creation in 1957. In a slowly recovering Europe a brilliant idea of unity and partnership through economic cooperation was born. The first European Economic Community (the precursor of the EU) countries were very few, including France which later opposed the UK attempts to join this coalition of nations.
The French president at the time (Charles de Gaulle) expressed his skepticism regarding the UK economic growth; however, his real concerns stemmed from the fear of the UK friendship with the Unites States. Nonetheless, in 1973 Britain successfully joined the EEC, thus embarking on a long-time journey of partnership and growing frustration.
It must be noted that for the first couple decades most Britons supported this inclusion and cooperation. However, the lack of legit information and the increase in overblown anti-immigrant rhetoric played its trick, and Britain chose to secede.
The Immigration Myth
This move was surprising to many liberals who believed in the ever-lasting unity with the EU given as many benefits which can be drawn from this alliance. However, they underestimated the degree of misinformation and the power of fearsome populism.
The main reason for this step is by far the progressing immigration. People fear that others arriving in this country would take away their benefits and live off their taxes. They see immigrants as uneducated, lazy and poor parasites, while in reality those constitute just a small margin of the overall picture.
In reality many come to the UK seeking education and willing to work hard to achieve a higher status in a new society. This keen labor boosts the British economy and helps create more jobs and initiatives. Moreover, the diverse pool of employees encourages creativity and often forces others to think outside the box, which results in a better product.
However, even the positive impact on the economy cannot diminish the panic of those, who dread terrorism. They believe that immigrants are more likely to commit such murderous acts, being especially alarmed by the events in France. However, again this is a very small percentage of those arriving in the country, and measuring everyone with the same yardstick is cruel and unfair to those, who seek safety because of the war in the native land.
The Fear of Globalization
The EU of today is much more integrated than it was at the moment of its creation. Right now it is a single market, meaning that there is only one EU economy, which depends on the well-being of all member states.
This of course engenders massive dependency on the less successful nations (cue Greece), which often frustrates the EU power players with the UK in the forefront. However, it is palpable that the advantages of the membership outweigh the minuses of having to deal with the problems of others. Unfortunately, the UK failed to educate the public properly about the benefits the EU brings to an average person.
For instance, in the EU businesses can freely move goods and services as well as people across the border lines. This facilitates cooperation between offices all over the continent allowing for a more efficient and cheaper product delivery. Moreover, no tariffs bring lower prices and better competition which encourages the companies to work hard to get and keep a consumer. In addition, EU regulations demand the quality of the goods to be consistent throughout the Union.
There are some who find EU rules to be burdensome and detrimental to businesses. However, would you rather have a company comply with the boring directives or feel insecurity every time you buy some product? It is true that enforcing all those economic laws and environmental regulations can be difficult and costly, but in the long run it brings confidence and safety to the people at large.
What IS Going On?
David Cameron resigned after hearing the results of the referendum, with Theresa May taking his position. The new Prime Minister acknowledged the results of Brexit and initiated the leaving process. They have already agreed upon the three major issues pertaining to the withdrawal, now trying to negotiate the provisions of the transition period.
The estimated price the UK has to pay for its “rebellion” amounts to 50 billion euros. It is not an insurmountable cost if paid in chunks throughout a prolonged timeframe, but it is still not the kind of saving which Brexit advocates promised in the first place. They claimed Britain spent too much on the EU and got too little in return. Well, now it has to splurge on exiting the Union in the midst of inflation and growing interest rates.
The grand plan includes adopting the Great Repeal Act which incorporates EU law into UK legislature and gives the British time to either accept or leave out the existing regulations. However, there is still no consensus regarding the transition period, which should last a couple years after the official withdrawal, or a multitude of other rules which the UK followed for about 50 years.
It is going to be a complicated process with many pitfalls. Obviously, the UK wants to strike the best kind of deal, while the EU is much more ambivalent. On the one hand, they do not want to spoil relationships with the second biggest economy on the continent. On the other hand, they definitely want to teach a lesson, which would keep other countries from leaving. Nonetheless, it is a slippery slope for both sides.
It is not hard to see a pattern here, namely, that there are those who accept the future and those who do not. There are those who are willing to share and those who want to keep all the benefits to themselves. There are those who see a bigger picture and those who have a hard time pursuing their personal interests.
Brexit was a victory of racism and ignorance. It proved that the UK just like many countries around the world had serious societal problems to tackle. It all should begin with recognizing this challenge and trying to shift the public opinion towards a more benevolent viewpoint.
It will not happen overnight. Just like Brexit had been brewing for many decades, changing the prevailing sentiment would take years. It should start with the media and political discourse, as people tend to believe those with influence. Then it should move to schools and universities, fostering a generation of critically thinking individuals who would not easily succumb to cheap rhetoric.