Brexit an economic danger born from xenophobia

Brexit could have much more than financial ramifications for the world.

Brexit could have much more than financial ramifications for the world.

On Wednesday, June 23, the citizens of the United Kingdom decided in a close referendum, 52 per cent to 48 per cent, to leave the European Union partly due to what former LondonMayor Boris Johnson says is the UK losing the equivalent of over $620 million Canadian dollars per week to the EU. The event has been labelled Brexit by the world-wide media.

This is a staggering sum of money and according to John Oliver’s late night show “Last Week Tonight” incredibly misleading. The sum, according to a segment on Sunday, June 19, is actually closer to around $335 million Canadian dollars, and to say that Britain would be losing this money is incorrect because it would be nearly that amount of money each week for the UK to “enter into the global market.”

To put it simply, these numbers do not add up to making a referendum decision that so immediately, drastically and negatively affects global markets, with the pound-sterling dropping by 8 per cent in only one day. This means that there could be other motivations beyond simply financial ones in a country, traditionally known for prudence.

Timothy B. Lee of provided a list of the “7 most important arguments for Britain to leave the EU”, which provides some insight into the reasoning of the 52 per cent who voted for leaving. There reasons were:

The EU threatens British sovereignty

The EU is strangling the UK in burdensome regulations

The EU entrenches corporate interests and prevents radical reforms

The EU was a good idea, but the euro is a disaster

The EU allows too many immigrants

The UK could have a more rational immigration system outside the EU

The UK could keep the money it currently sends to the EU

The majority of these reasons can make some fiscal or reasonable sense if the correct rose coloured lens is applied, however the reasons regarding immigration could perhaps be indicative of a global xenophobia that appears to have taken shape in many more places then just Britain and could be the true reason for British dissatisfaction.

As the world has become a more global community, many countries have been forced to deal with issues of immigration, tolerance and integration. In most countries, there has been a reactionary response most notably being the political rants by Republican incumbent presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has run a campaign demonizing Latino Americans and peoples of middle eastern descent and even has suggested that American job losses are the result of the immigration of these peoples.

Considering that Brexit was originally a political dream of an extreme far-right party, its astonishing that more middle-leaning conservatives would take to the movement so readily after many British politicians denounced the xenophobic Trump campaign. This being proved during the week of January 22, when parliament seriously debated disallowing Trump from entering the country over his anti-Muslim rhetoric a debate that had bipartisan support.

Perhaps the key to British right-leaning politicians hiding their worries over immigration has been by masking it by the other five points previously mentioned. The argument then would be that this plan is 71 per cent effective if the questionable financial numbers put forth by the far right holds true and if Britons truly believe that their sovereignty and financial security is threatened. That is clearly a majority, but can a country justify legislation and separation if the plan is based on 29 per cent xenophobia and racism? Perhaps it can if majority rule is the sole way of deciding what our society should value.

In western democracies, a majority is how many choices are decided. It is a strong representation of the common will of multiple individuals.

The financial ramifications of this majority decision will not be made clear for quite some time, but hopefully a majority of Britons won’t use their majority to demonize peoples of other communities  many of whom who have carried British Passports and ran British businesses for decades.


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