A State Of Utter Confusion!
Friedrich August von Hayek (May 8, 1899 – March 23, 1992), the Austrian-British Economist and Philosopher best known for his defence of Classical Liberalism, had once said that History is the result of past human actions, but not the “execution of any human design”. The Brexit issue reminds us of this phrase that Hayek had borrowed from Adam Fergusson, arguably the mentor of Adam Smith!
Globalisation is not about getting backward in the move of coming forward! The Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (2007) was included as a possible manner (for a member country) to leave the European Union (EU). No one seemingly had any plans to apply this clause. The British politicians backed this clause only to garner more domestic support for the deal. They possibly never thought that Britain would leave the 28-member bloc…
However, three issues changed the scenario from 2004 to 2015. Firstly: Immigration! The joint Foreign Policy of Tony Blair and George W Bush had initially boosted the concept of the EU, with 10 East and South European nations joining the bloc in 2004. In this process, the Britons noticed that instead of thousand foreigners, millions started arriving in the UK from different European countries, thanks to the Liberal Immigration Policy…
The Second Issue is more serious… the Global Recession hit Britain hard in 2008. As a crisis in the Banking Sector had triggered the recession, the Government came forward to help that particular sector. The Gordon Brown Administration had to cut budget for two important sectors, Education and Health, in order to strengthen the Banking Sector. While Companies went bankrupt during that period, a section of people associated with the Banking Sector flourished with the public money! This disparity made majority of people dissatisfied…
The Third Issue is relatively a simple one… the Britons lost faith in their Political Leaders. When Britain was facing an acute economic crisis, quite a few Parliamentarians got involved in financial irregularities and scandals. Since the 1990s, Britain, like many Western countries, has been following the path of Consumerist Democracy. Immediately after the WWII, the British Government had concentrated on the National Economy mainly to rebuild the country. Gradually, Margaret Thatcher’s thoughts influenced the British Economy, as Consumerism and Financial Rewards replaced the concept of Welfare Economy. The Global Economic Recession in 2008 hit the core of this system. The Liberal Immigration Policy for the Europeans, the ensuing economic disparity because of the government initiatives to fight recession and frustration over the political leadership deteriorated the situation!
The Social Media have been flooded with images of faces of unknown Syrian immigrants, news related to the interference of European bureaucrats in British Economy, and the mess in British Health Sector. It created a new consciousness among the Britons! It seems that the distinction between truth and untruth disappeared, and people thought that everything was possible! As the logic lost its direction, the Britons started considering Brexit as a way out to regain their rights! To appease themselves, people wanted to challenge the influential class through Brexit Referendum. Things turned a full circle on June 24, 2015, when the Referendum took place.
Once, Sir Winston Churchill was heard saying: “If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea.” External Trade-based imperialist Britain has always enjoyed a sweet-and-sour relationship with Mainland Europe! Even after the sunset, the British Empire considered itself as the link between three powers – the Mainland Europe, the US and the Commonwealth! Britain joined the EU during the Cold War era… however, she has always maintained a distance with Europe because of her hidden desire to stay alone!
PM Boris Johnson
It was, in a way, inevitable! Dani Rodrik, the Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard’s John F Kennedy School of Government, stressed that the coexistence of Global Trade, Democracy and Nation-State is not possible… a country will have to choose any two of them. David Cameron’s political gamble coincidentally brought the genie out of the bottle. Perhaps, the former British Prime Minister did not have a clear idea about the difference between Referendum and Democracy…
Today, Britain wants to leave the EU. However, it is not easy for the Great British Empire! Ireland has made it clear that she is not ready to snap ties with the bloc. While Labour leader and Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn thinks that Britain will return to the pre-Thatcher era and follow the path of state-controlled socialist structure, Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes that his country will be a new Singapore (after the Brexit), where the tax is low and the trade is global… a perfect place for consumerism!
In the midst of these dreams, disillusions and betrayals regarding Brexit, the Britons are looking at the Judiciary and also at the Buckingham Palace. There was a saying that “The British Empire on which the Sun never sets”. Now, a new history of this state is being written. The current generation has to bear the load of previous generations when they write the History. It seems Brexit is also following the suit…
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