Du er kanskje ikke interessert i politikk, men politikken er definitivt interessert i deg! Brexit og den siste tidens hendelser i Storbritannia kan være vanskelig å forstå for oss som ikke står midt i det. Christopher White, førsteamanuensis på Bjørknes Høyskole, deler noen tanker rundt dette.
And so just like that, something rather precious has been snatched away from those of us who felt – still feel – European. It has been said that ‘you might not be interested in war, but war is interested in you’. The same can be said of politics more generally. Britain’s recent decision to leave the European Union feels a bit like that. Though politicians might struggle to deliver the good life – though they promise it each election cycle – their real power is in a negative sense, meaning they can really mess things up.
Poor leadership and a nasty, public debate
The reasons a rump of angry voters (52 per cent) concluded that enough was enough are complex, but that decision was in part down to poor leadership, a nasty, often misleading public debate and frankly, some peddling downright lies. Experts were ignored and economic arguments dismissed and the worst prejudices stoked, with the consequence that Europe is now looking considerably more fragile. All in the mistaken belief that the UK, now freed from ‘Brussels’, can in some way regain control, meaning stop inward migration. An angry constituency fearful of foreigners and what the future holds, have now redefined what it means to be British. Expect to see many other political parties and populist calls for exit all over the continent.
Politics is interested in you
You might not be particularly interested in (British) politics, but politics sure is interested in you. The significance of this decision is not confined to the UK – it has global repercussions. The Brits’ decision to leave will likely give succor to those populist anti-migrant voices in the EU that favor closed borders and are suspicious of all foreigners. Putin, keen to divide Europe, is delighted, as is Le Pen, the far right leader of France’s National Front. The less said about Trump the better. The EU will now hinge on a Franco-German pivot, and may well become increasingly protectionist and inward looking. Only time will tell whether the EU remains viable.
The politics of fear
Today’s global trends are creating winners, and many, many losers who don’t buy into the cosmopolitan, multicultural vision that we associate with a particular version of globalization. Anger and the politics of fear is a powerful force, easily exploitable by those with malevolent interests. Those who voted to leave were part of this politics of fear. When they come to realize that their circumstances are now worse than before, their anger will turn to despair. They have been let down by those politicians who exploited their genuine concerns. Let’s hope that this will be a lesson to those other countries courting the false promise that you’re better off going it alone in this world. As students of politics, we need to ensure that communities are better able to see through the false promises and willful lies of those who seek to stoke hatred in a climate of fear.
Lær mer av førsteamanuensis Chris White
Chris er født og oppvokst i Wales og har mange år med utdanning og arbeid innen britisk politikk bak seg. Som student på freds- og konfliktstudier eller internasjonale studier På Bjørknes Høyskole vil du stifte bekjentskap med Chris og lære mer om hvordan blant annet politiske beslutninger som kan virke fjernt fra din hverdag likevel kan ha sterk påvirkning på ditt liv.Les mer om freds- og konfliktstudier