BREXIT- FOR A GREATER BRITAIN?

The photo captures a citizen’s ordeal post UK's departure from the European Union. The plummeting economic growth and the political chaos within the nation following Brexit, has left the hopeful voters dismayed with Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, regretting the decision to vote in favor of the UK’s exit from the European Union. The voters’ regret could be equated with the ‘Buyer’s remorse’, with Brexit supports having second thoughts regarding their decision as well as the discrepancies in the Brexit referendum.

Brexit or British exit is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020. The term gained traction after former UK PM David Cameron decided to hold a referendum on UK’s continuing membership in the EU. The supporters of the UK’s divorce from the European Union, advocated ‘ Brexit for Britain’, stating Brexit would save the UK from economic turmoil and an influx of immigrants to the UK. Former PM Theresa initiated the formal negotiations for BREXIT following a referendum in June 2016 in which 52% voted for UK’s withdrawal from the EU. On 31st January 2020, PM Boris Johnson withdrew the United Kingdom from the European Union. PM Johnson’s constant assurances to ‘to get Brexit’ helped him achieve a landslide win in the 2019 UK elections. Brexit is acknowledged as an embrace of right-wing populism around the world. The withdrawal agreement requires the UK to abide by the European Union’s laws and remain a part of the EU Single Market and custom’s union during the transition period, ending on 31st December 2020. However, the drop in the value of the Pound accompanied by the weakened political economy of The United Kingdom, a small open economy that is at risk of losing their largest trading partner, and a decline in the labor market is responsible for a political distrust amongst the citizens. The socio-economic disintegration has necessitated the Eurosceptics, Conservatives, Liberals, and Remainders to demand political reforms from the government.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, UK is engulfed by a financial crisis and political polarization, which aggravates the existing inequalities in the nation. The array of challenges, accompanied by the pandemic, resulted in the Brexit-supporters reassess their political affiliations. The Covid-19 pandemic has pronounced the need for the citizens to realign their political position to prioritize socio-economic issues over deep-rooted cultural values. Vestiges of imperialism are reflected the United Kingdom’s reluctance to cede some of the powers to the European Union. The ingrained national belief which places the nation-state as the final authority goes against the grain of the supranational identity appropriated by the European Union. The Brexit which stems from, ethnocentrism contributing to the rising hostility towards the ethnic minority and a steep in immigration has proved to be counterproductive for the UK’s cultural sector. The cultural sector which witnessed a decline in revenues since the UK’s divorce from the EU began spiraling down due to the lingering economic impacts of the pandemic. A study by Creative Industries Federation reveals the European Union is the United Kingdom’s cultural export market. United Kingdom has risked the loss of the major source of funding from EU’s ‘Creative Europe’ programming funds, amounting to approximately 1.46 billion euros raised through this initiative over the years. With Britain’s tourism sector wilted by the Covid-19 pandemic, UK’s Arts and cultural industry, comprising Film, art, trade, and television market, amounting to approximately 84.1 billion has been incurring huge revenue losses. Brexit has brought a wave of unemployment in the tourism and cultural sectors as a consequence of restricted freedom of finance, people, service, and fewer cultural exchanges, cross-border collaborations. UK isolationist position has impacted the soft power and cultural diplomacy of the nation, placing itself in a detrimental position. Great Britain, tradition, and Culture which forms the cornerstone of the national identity are crumbling under the nationwide lockdown.

Since Brexit has withdrawn from the European Union, the nation has been grappling with an economic crisis and political tumult. As the government is in the process of striking the transition deal with the EU, the red-tapism, and uncertainties associated with key issues encompassing trade-commerce, services, security cooperation culminated in political distrust amongst the Brexit supporters, rethinking their decision.

In the face of the pandemic, the UK needs to maintain an amenable relationship with the EU, to tackle the emerging traditional and non-traditional security threats, looming over Europe.

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