This is the third of our series of four articles we're dedicating to the consequences of Brexit. Brexit will impact philanthropy, the European integration process, and the lives of hundreds of millions of people. This is why we decided to publish these articles on Kinder World. You can read the other articles here.
Perhaps the most insidious part of Brexit has been its powerful ability to distract from real and pressing national and global issues. In the years following the referendum, inequality has been allowed to widen, austerity continues unchecked, and political opportunists jostle for power in a robe of righteousness that barely disguises a brute Machiavellian lust for power.
The Conservative party is effectively a leaderless shell, the minority administration of Boris Johnson will be maintained at least partly by wide public disillusionment with the only viable alternative. The Labour Party’s commitment to being a ‘broad church’ and trying in vain to find a middle ground between Remainers and Leavers has left it in a position where it is increasingly disdained and abandoned by both. The Liberal Democrats, despite a recent resurgence, have still to recover from their damaging coalition years. Smaller parties, despite the ongoing implosion of the two dominant parties, remain constrained by the limitations of the first-past-the-post voting system.
The sheer absurdity of Brexit, therefore, keeps the headless carcass of the Conservative party afloat, while placing an inescapable wedge into the heart of the Labour party. The consequence of this so far has been the continued implementation of disastrous government austerity and the pawning of vital public services (most notably the NHS) to the highest bidder, with little or no democratic mandate.
Tragically, the Brexit fiasco has come about when the need for trans-national cooperation has never been greater. Climate change has shifted from a ‘worry about it later’ problem to a very real and very current crisis; exemplified by the record-breaking high temperatures over the last several years. The Attenborough-Guttenburg effect on climate awareness; from youth-led climate strikes to the international hostility to plastic straws, are some clear indicators of a public willingness to act. Brexit, in the face of such a dire crisis, seems little more than inconsequential navel-gazing. It is the direct opposite of the spirit of cooperation that the crises of our time require.
About the author: Samuel John recently graduated with an MSc in international development studies. Formerly a research intern with Kinder, he is now working as an English teacher in Japan; and continues to write the occasional article for Kinder World
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