This article written by me was first published on myind.net here
Like waking up from a nightmare and finding it to be a horror story, Brexit is a now cruel reality for public intellectuals, institutions, and markets. The World markets got it all wrong. They panicked and lost US$ 2 trillion in value. Central Banks have now rushed to ‘calm’ the markets with their hands on triggers of quantitative easing. Merkel has called for avoiding knee jerk reactions. Obama has said that the special relationship with UK remains despite Brexit.
Other reactions are:
‘A bad day for Europe’
‘Could do real damage to UK science’
‘Openness of World Economy in danger’
‘Brexit should be a warning about Trump’
‘Brexit doesn’t mean Trump will triumph’
‘Millennials fury over baby boomers’
‘Brexit makes US the last hope for liberalism’
‘Xenophobic parties not dominant but there politics will go on’
No one is welcoming it, so it seems.
To an Indian, Brexit and reactions to it can be bewildering. The fact is that Indian markets too have nosedived. Both stocks and Indian Rupee have come down.
People from big countries may deride UK as a group of tiny islands, but it is world’s fifth-largest economy. It has powerful military and intelligence capabilities. It possesses nuclear weapons. It is US’s most important go-to-ally when it needs to impose sanctions against some countries. UK contributes handsomely to NATO alliance.
You don’t mess around with such a nation -not for long. That’s what a German-French dominated EU did under the garb of liberalism, openness, globalization, and free movement of people. UK’s ruling elite got sold.
Over the years, more and more power has shifted to Brussels. Key decision making bodies in Europe are mostly unelected and not accountable to national governments. The EU is run by an unelected supranational commission. EU commissioners are not accountable to the member states. They cannot be recalled by the member states. They break all allegiances to the member states once appointed.
UK trades more outside the EU than with EU countries. Yet UK’s businesses must comply with EU’s red tape and regulations. UK can’t join a trade block on its own.
The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back must be the unchecked immigration of people from 27 member countries who can come to UK without having confirmed jobs. The specter of Islamic terror that comes on the back of refugees from countries like Syria etc. also must have scared people in UK. Presence of immigrant Muslims has caused authorities in Europe to issue advisories on dress codes, movements at night, and other social customs to ‘accommodate’ them.
So it is like -people in UK are saying, “we don’t like globalization because it affects our identities, the way we live, and our culture. We can manage economic downsides if any. We don’t see its touted benefits. In any case we don’t believe that leaving EU will be an economic disaster. We don’t buy that argument.”
The US under Democrats and the EU overwhelmed by leftist liberals have used their powers to overrun local economies under the garb of globalization and open trade. While they talked social good they allowed banks and their managers to play with public wealth and destroy it. They rescued the banks with more public money and no one got punished. They used their powers to overrun local cultures by letting Islamists roam free and give cover for terror and other crimes.
A majority in UK saw through the fig leaves of globalization and liberalism and decided to call the bluff. Public Intellectuals -those who live on public money and who have no skin in the game – in the world and in India are predictably upset. With A Trump looming large, further break of EU being a possibility, and nationalism as a defining framework in India, we are going to get more and more lectures on Xenophobia and dangers of nationalism.