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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