Brexit marks the fall of UK

Tabish Khair
Tabish KhairJul 07, 2016 | 13:41

Brexit marks the fall of UK

So, it fell out as I thought it would, though all my British friends voted to stay in EU. They were highly educated, and we know that areas with the highest percentage of university-educated people voted to stay in EU, even though many of them were critical of the functioning of the union.

They believed in reforming EU from within, not sabotaging it, which is what Brexit set out to do. Obviously, EU is far from perfect, but then so is democracy, and I remain extremely wary of people who dismiss democracies because of their flaws.


However, I had spent some time commuting to York, London and Manchester over the past few months, and I had realised that a large number of less highly educated people were against staying in the EU.

It showed with Brexit on June 23: around 52 per cent voted to leave EU, while around 48 per cent voted to stay. The anti-EU voters I had spoken to were basically driven by two factors: fear of foreigners and failure to understand how the global economy works.

Both are understandable, but it isn't good news for a country when fear and ignorance are combined to decide its future.

There was another kind of fear (and ignorance) too: most people over 65 seem to have voted to leave EU. Once again, it is easy to understand their fear, they did not want their retirement privileges to shrink under a "different" regime or under pressure from "foreigners".

Around 52 per cent voted to leave EU, while around 48 per cent voted to stay.

Interestingly, it is exactly this 65-plus generation that has had the best of times in Western Europe: they started life under booming conditions, higher employment but with relatively low property prices. They retired with higher pensions and better residences than their children and grandchildren are likely to get.


Sadly, the fact that they voted against EU might further affect the financial prospects of their children and grandchildren and even mean a cut in their own retirement benefits.

The Pound was already plunging a day after the vote - as I wrote this column. UK markets were nervous; UK shares falling.

This won't be a complete collapse, but there is a chance that it marks the final phase of the long slide from being a global power to becoming just another island nation for UK.

Make Britain Great? Oh well.

If Scotland votes to leave UK, the consequences might be greater. Interestingly, all my friends - who wanted UK to stay in EU - are critical of many aspects of the European project.

It is not that they feel that the EU is perfect. But they see it as a beacon of hope, a necessary institution that needs to be corrected from within.

They also realise that a splintered Europe cannot really compete in economic terms with places like USA and China: which are unified markets about the size of Europe.

Whether we like it or not, the more freely capital and labour move in a market, the more likely it is for the nation, or the nations, comprising that market to achieve prosperity. This also bears a lesson for India: we need to work towards creating a more integrated and larger economic zone in Asia.


But, alas, there is a good chance that many Indians too will vote for our version of Brexit (not Bremain).

I remain confused by the fact that some of the very people who once accused the BJP of being blindly anti-Pakistan or anti-China now jump up and criticise PM Modi of kowtowing to such neighbours, when, in many cases, he seems to be just indulging in necessary diplomacy

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Last updated: July 07, 2016 | 13:41
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