Ask a pointless question, and you will get a pointless answer.
What is the point of an extensive, sector-by-sector assessment of what impact Brexit has made on the UK so far? Concrete consequences of a ‘once in a generation decision’ are yet to unfold. Every elaborate analysis cannot escape a directionless over-interpretation. The mere idea of asking ourselves at what stage we are now, however, serves as a reminder of the indisputable fact that if we had stayed in, we would not have had to wonder where are we at any point in soon future.
We would not be left at the mercy of moody and gloomy negotiators. We would know where our life-paths are headed to. By the way, I deliberately say we, even though I am a European citizen I feel like a part of the UK.
PRIMARILY BAD, BUT FUNDAMENTALLY UNKNOWN FUTURE
Six months after the unfortunate, ridiculous event we can only gather minute signs of trends and widely envisage distant scenarios. The media help fill the information vacuum. Opinion pieces inaugurate speculative sensationalism by welcoming a plague of words like ‘allegedly’ ‘maybe’, ‘perhaps’ ‘possibly’, ‘potentially’, ‘probably’. Brexit mongers like Boris Johnson remain untrustworthy fortune tellers, while those like Nigel Farage cowardly resign and ironically enough, a guy who comes from Sefton – a council which voted to remain – inherits the throne. Irony is at its highest peak here.
Despite this is not being the end-game, every glimpse of hope easily fades away. The vacuum is being filled with uncertainty by irresponsible ‘post-truth’ politicians. An age of austerity, for an age of hypotheses. ‘Hard or soft Brexit?’ seems to be an exquisite example of Prisoner’s Dilemma. The main question is, whether this is going to be a fair play.
Likewise, our politics itself is becoming somewhat sectarian, or should I say balkanised? The pre-referendum heavy atmosphere, including the horrendous murder of Jo Cox, could be typical of the Balkans, but it represents a level of political culture that, traditionally, would be unimaginably alien in the UK. Furthermore, the Balkan area geographically belongs to Europe, however not all countries are integrated and thus pertinent nations are perceived as European outsiders.
‘LEAVE RATIO’ CAMPAIGN & UNIMPRESSIVE POPULIST ACROBATICS
The main problem with the Leave campaign is that no viable and promising alternative was offered. Treating the UK as if it was already out of the EU; laughable suggestions about random trade deals with BRIC countries (neglecting transaction and transportation costs); making a problem out of natural and beneficial demographic processes and proposing migration-friendly points-based system (which actually increased immigration in Commonwealth countries) all together count towards a constructivist paradox. Built on the romanticised construction of an independent Britain evoked through reckless sentiment.
Populism eroded the importance of democratically cultivated political institutions; 200 years of historical progress vanished into thin air in one day. The problem is, populism is becoming more affirmative and mainstream, once creeping, yesterday galloping and skyrocketing today.
BREXIT DISCUSSIONS NOT ANTHROPOMORPHISED ENOUGH
Yes, I used an intricate word because humans are complex beings. The human face of the Brexit debate was largely covered, kept under the wraps of defunct ideological façade. Everyone discussed what Brexit would mean in abstractly politicised terms, no-one came up with the idea to discuss what it could mean on a personal level. European citizens were boiled down to simple actors in the economy: we are ‘good’ because we contribute to economy, we pay more tax than we use tax credits, we work tainted jobs that natives do not opt for. In that vein, we were vilified equally by both sides. As if we do not enrich UK culturally and do not weave a social fabric of this country. From the outset it was clear that we would be ping pong balls during negotiations. Personally, Brexit puts a spanner in the works when it comes to my career planning. It is the reason why I nonchalantly sigh and shrug my shoulders when asked what exactly I am going to do with my life after graduation.
BRITAIN LAST, LIVERPOOL FIRST
I spoke with Professor of Politics, Jonathan Tonge, at the University of Liverpool to find out anything about the impact of Brexit on Merseyside. Professor Tonge outlined who or what might be affected the most: a local car industry due to imposed tariffs, the city’s educational institutions since up to 20% of academic staff are of European background, plus future of Romanian and Polish people (who constitute most of the European citizenry) is put out on a line. Generally, he added, post-Brexit future is not so bright – the Liverpool area is vulnerable to recessions not only for historical reasons and geographical isolation, but also because it relies on public sector and export-oriented growth. City’s entrepreneurial culture is not developed enough to sustain independent and substantial economic growth.
I believe what has actually happened so far is nothing in comparison to what is likely to be. Can we afford to live through another managed decline? New year is supposed to be new beginning.