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December 2022

Brexit, UK Nationalism and Economic Decline

Brexit, UK Nationalism and Economic Decline

                                    Robert A. Levine    12-27-22

The malign effects of nationalism has been manifest through Brexit’s impact on the British economy and its relationship with European nations. The referendum on Brexit by British citizens in June 2016 passed by about three percentage points, pushing the government to have the UK leave the EU. The British population was sold a bill of goods by nationalists who wanted separation from the European Union because they felt the E.U. was interfering with British prerogatives and culture. The British masses did not like the rules that the E.U. imposed on all member nations, feeling that it interfered with British independence and freedom. There seemed to be little understanding among British voters that when a nation is a member of a group, it has to compromise with other members and loses some of its autonomy.

The British population was warned by its economists that divorce from the European Union would have negative consequences for the British economy in both the short and long term. They predicted that per capita income level and GDP would both be decreased with a separation from the E.U. An estimate from British government agencies noted that economic growth in the UK would diminish from 2-8 percent for fifteen or more years after Brexit. Many of Britain’s trade partners are on the European continent and erecting trade barriers in both directions would only hurt the transfer of goods. But the British nationalists and the Conservative Party ignored economic warnings in going ahead with Brexit despite the likely consequences of the separation from the E.U. The predictions of the economists has proven to be quite true and the U.K is now suffering from the ignorance and nationalist feelings of the British voter with its effects on the British economy.

As soon as Brexit was passed, many EU citizens who had been working in specialized fields in the UK, such as technology and heavy industry, and generalized work such as in hospitality jobs and restaurants, left Britain and returned to their home nations on the continent, feeling that they were not wanted. This had an immediate effect on the British economy which has worsened over time. There is a dearth of both skilled and unskilled workers currently in the UK. Because of the lack of workers, inflation has spiked in the UK more than in the rest of the developed world. Certainly there are other factors also playing a role such as Covid 19 and supply chain issues, but the fact is that many industries can’t find workers. Particularly hard hit are restaurants, unable to find trained servers and kitchen personnel. All kinds of hospitality workers are unavailable. Since tourism is an important source of income to the UK, restaurant, hotel and entertainment venues are all suffering. Some establishments have closed and others have cut their hours to make do with fewer worker.

This economic disaster is the result of British nationalism which railed against EU rules and foreign immigrants. With low birth rates and population decreases, immigrants are necessary in all developed nations to bolster their economies. This is a warning to nationalists worldwide including the United States. Unemployment is low and many jobs are not being filled. To maintain a strong economy, immigrants are a necessity.                                             

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Where Did Trump Go?

Where Did Trump Go?

            Robert A. Levine   12-12-2022

Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president in 2024 election, he has been mostly out of sight. Unlike his usual parade of public appearances and rallies, he has been keeping a low profile, with few pronouncements other than his recurrent lament of the 2020 presidential election being stolen from him. Instead of pushing his candidacy, as would be expected, he has had little to say. What had happened to the usually ebullient, narcissistic and loud mouthed Donald?

There are a number of possibilities for his public reticence. One is that he is sick or simply tired. The Donald is not a young man, is obese and has risk factors for cardio-vascular disease. However, for someone who has been almost continuously in the public spotlight for the last eight years, one would have anticipated that some word would have leaked if he were ill in any way. Political fatigue is also an unlikely factor. Trump is a man who always likes to be in the public arena and has been a very energetic figure in the political world. It would be very unusual for him to recede into the background because he is too fatigued to get out there and spout off with his normal bravado, to elicit support from his base and antagonist responses from his adversaries.

Another consideration is that The Donald and his team are reassessing their political approach, particularly after the poor showing of Trump endorsed candidates in the recent elections. The loss in Georgia by Trump supported Hershel Walker in the Senate race was also a tough blow for him. The only prominent Trump acolyte who won was J.D. Vance as Senator in the Ohio election. Not only did most Trump endorsed candidates lose, but many of them asked him to stay away from their campaigns, and many barely mentioned his endorsement as they felt it might hurt rather than help them. His constant moaning about the 2020 election being stolen from him even though it has been thoroughly disproved, is old news. Many Republicans want to project a forward looking image and are reluctant to be weighed down by Trump’s baggage.

Yet another possibility is that The Donald is aggravated by the number of Republicans who seem willing to challenge him to be the next GOP candidate for president in 2024. The front-runner of course is Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, for whom Trump has already devised a derogatory nickname- Ron DeSanctimonious. This early attack by The Donald shows that he is taking deSantis seriously and sees him as a serious opponent. Other possible contenders who seem willing to throw their hats into the ring are Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia and former Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland. Former Congresswoman Liz Cheney is another possibility, but it is unclear whether she would run as a Republican or as an independent. This is not a complete list as others have also mentioned consideration of becoming candidates.

Actually, the more candidates there are in Republican primaries, the better the chances of Trump receiving the nomination. Much of Trump’s base is extremely loyal to him and would vote for him in a primary, while the other candidates would split the remaining vote. In this way, Trump might win even with a small percentage of the total Republican primary vote.

But aside from the next election which is two years off, The Donald may be upset by being blamed by many conservative pundits for the poor showing of his handpicked Republican candidates in the 2022 elections. In addition, some recent polls have showed Ron DeSanctimonious ahead of Trump as the desired Republican candidate for president. Trump may also be bothered by all the legal actions to which he is being subjected, his New York company already having been found guilty of fraud. And he has barely started running through his legal gauntlet.

The 2024 is still two years off and many things may change. But the question now remains- where did the usual Donald Trump go?

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