The whole world has had one word on our newsfeeds for the last 5 days, this word is Brexit.
After a 52% – 48% Referendum the British people elected to leave the European Union last friday. Since then there have a been a mutlitude of statuses, posts and upset individuals talking about how this decision has negatively affected them.
For exampleI myself have had many people I know talk about how this may affect their currency, investments and their passports. One of the most common claims I hear from people is how this is negatively affecting their plans to study overseas and how it makes it much harder to do so.
Let’s take in these issues, and have a think. Now let’s look at the socio economic voting patterns of those involved in the vote.
What you can clearly see here is the evident wealth divide between voters in the EU Referendum; with those who have a higher income typically voting remain.
Most people in the low income bracket couldn’t care less about investments, the strength of their currency and their ability to study overseas. Instead they’re probably worrying more about the ability to put food on their table and reach the bare necessities of life. These voters probably couldn’t care less about richer people being placed in a similar position to themselves, in their view it’s very possible that what has happened is actually very fair.
You are justified in feeling upset about how this affects you personally, however there are so many wider ramifications of Brexit than the way it effects the individual. The dissatisfaction with Brexit amongst the privileged are never issues that they can expect leave voters to empathise with. It is the social separation highlighted by the Brexit vote that has motivated so many lower income populations to lose faith in the European Union.
What are the serious issues with Brexit
Brexit has largely shaken the world, it is the first time that nationalism has come out on top of economic multilateralism since the 1930’s. Now matter how many leave supporters try to deny the outright xenophobia surrounding the leave vote, much of the debate and sentiment was dominated by the belief that leaving the EU would give Britain a higher control over their immigration (spoiler alert: Britain already had control of their borders). This highlights the fierce democratic power that anti-immigration movements can wield in western society especially in Britain. Remember that Britain’s own anti-immigration party UKIP received the third highest percentage of votes as a party last year in the General Election. The rise of right wing populism and anti-immigration sentiment throughout the EU, the UK, and the USA (re: Trump) is genuinely frightening.
Whilst I’m not going to jump on the doomsayer train and say that Brexit will cause World War 3 I will highlight that I do subscribe a very liberal peace theory of international relations. I personally believe that if states rely on each other’s markets and there is economic interdependency, war becomes disincentivised. The idea being that a state won’t attack another state because it would damage their own economy as much as the economy of the state it is attacking.
Brexit, like an onion, has many layers. On one layer is has negatively affected those with passport and their EU citizenship. On another layer it’s going to impact the British economy as we can the value of the British pound has dropped. However, at it’s core layer (do onions even have cores) Brexit is a victory for right wing populism and anti-immigration. This victory is going to justify and validate similar movements all over the western world and could seriously change the shape of global values.