Monday, we talked about how the British “leave” vote could impact your business. There is even a darker side to what is happening in the UK, though, and that is how the #Brexit movement could impact (and is impacting) the world.
Racism and Xenophobia
Already, in the wake of the “leave” vote, racist incidents have, according to a recent Guardian article, increased dramatically. There has been a lot of tension in England and around Europe regarding the influx of refugees from war-torn countries like Syria. While many people have pointed out that your situation must be dire if you’re willing to leave land to find a new home, a lot of people feel that refugees are a threat to security, job availability, and other resources. That same Guardian article notes that 50% of the English population believes “immigration has a negative impact on the British economy.”
Adding to this pressure cooker of already existing tension are claims that the #Brexit faction told a lot of lies about immigration and the state of the EU. The Guardian reports:
Despite Boris Johnson once saying he was pro-immigration, his campaign focused its message on immigration, creating unrealistic and unachievable expectations of what migration figures could be. Not only did it falsely claim that Turkey was about to join the EU but it also claimed that Turks were in some way a threat to our national security, highlighting its proximity to Iraq and Syria on a poster. There are no two ways about it: such messages must either be the work of duplicitous demagogues or incompetent and irresponsible migration scaremongers.
Let’s not forget Nigel Farage’s risible anti-migrant “breaking point” poster, which was even reported to the police for allegedly inciting racial hatred. As Sayeeda Warsi told the BBC, “This kind of nudge-nudge, wink-wink xenophobic racist campaign may be politically savvy or useful in the short term but it causes long-term damage to communities” – a prediction that is unfortunately being proved correct.
Having won, it is possible that pro-leave British citizens are now also feeling validated in their racist and xenophobic leanings.
The other significant issue is that with the UK breaking away from the EU, decision-making parties have now been splintered. Hypotheses, as you might expect, are ranging all over the place. Some think that #Brexit will mean the splintering of the United Kingdom. Some say that this could be the beginning of the end of the European Union. Other countries may leave over the next few years depending on how things go for the UK. A recent Politico article quoted John McLaughlin, who served as acting director of the CIA in 2004, as saying:
If several other EU countries follow the British example, in five years or earlier, the 60-year-old European integration experiment—designed to dampen historic conflicts—will be in jeopardy. Germany, already the continent’s largest and most influential power, will be poised to dominate economic and political trends. And Russia will take satisfaction in the fragmentation to its west, and be all the more tempted to probe at NATO’s vulnerable points if it has not done so already.
It is also possible that the world will become even more distracted, losing focus on the genocide in Syria and other disasters.
This is all information we should be aware of, and we should remain diligent. However, there is no cause for widespread panic or creating further damage because of fear. Monitor the facts. Read before sharing information. Do your research. Let’s all hope for the best.
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alfonsojimenez/4042648960/ via Creative Commons