The ironies of Brexit

In my previous post earlier today (I know, I should get a life) I described how authoritarian people (who value order and national power) voted for Brexit on 23 June.  This set of values is very ironic in the light of the consequences of the Brexit vote.

Brexit has directly caused a significant period of political, and criminal disorder.  We’ve lost the prime minister David Cameron, and almost all of his cabinet.  The Brexit referendum outcome has also triggered a melt-down in the main opposition party.  The spike in hate crime shows no sign of lessening, although that could be just increased awareness and reporting.

Confirmation by the new PM of the UK’s decision to leave the EU has already cost us good will, and political influence, in Europe.  Brexit will embolden an expansionist Russia, particularly if a newly enfeebled EU decides to drop sanctions against the illegal seizure of Crimea.  Presumably such sanctions are something that the smaller group of NATO nations cannot do effectively?

A period of short-term economic turmoil was expected by both Brexiteers and Remainers.  This has now happened, and the value of the pound has still not fully recovered a month later.  That will make exports cheaper, but will also push up the prices of critical imports, such as oil and food.  The price of oil will of course push up the price of everything else.


So much for “order”, but what about national power?  

The longer term economic impact of Brexit will not be clear for many months, or years.  Most comentators expect it to be bad.  Predictions by various bodies independent of UK government suggest that the loss of national economic power will be much worse than any  terrorist attack could have achieved without serious weapons of mass destruction. The IMF The IFS

Loss of economic power leads to loss of military power.  The decades of failure of any party in government to regulate the banks properly led to the UK not having the money to commission aircraft carriers after the crash of 2008.

“The taking back of control” after Brexit is partly an illusion.  

Gain in power at Westminster is at least balanced by loss of power in Brussels.  After Brexit is complete we will no longer have a say in legislation across the EU.  We will become able to pass our own legislation on air pollution and fisheries within the UK, but those pesky fish and chunks of air will still keep moving around Europe!  We will still need international cooperation on many issues, both at EU level, and more widely.  The kind of “control” that we are taking back will end at the UK’s borders.

Before the EU referendum, we already had control of non-EU migration, and yet Theresa May allowed such immigration to the UK to continue at the same average level while she was Home Secretary, because the economy needed those migrants.  The economic benefit of inward migration will not go away, however much some Brexiteers might wish it to.  Again, “taking back control” is an illusion here as well.

(see page 13)

We will still import large numbers of students and tourists, yet we will still have no national ID card to prevent them from overstaying and working illegally.  The amount of “control” of migration being taken back has been oversold.


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