A year on from the Brexit referendum Britain feels like it is in shambles. It’s been noted that the extensive and outright visible damage has been done to its domestic politics, as the Conservative Party has been in turmoil for a while now. The London Evening Standard says that Gdeon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI confined to one of its reports the following:
The turnaround in Mrs May’s ratings is unprecedented in our previous data on Prime Ministers – from a historic high at the start of the campaign to a historic low just one month after an election, while also seeing her position among her own party supporters weakening and Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign surge continuing.
The same extent of damage, most experts agree, has been inflicted upon Britain’s global standing, which is lower than it has been at any time since the Suez crisis in 1956.
The Economist experts argue that for decades Britain’s foreign policy has rested on three pillars: the United States, the European Union and the emerging world. As a former imperial power, Britain had close ties with dozens of African and Asian countries. With one of Europe’s largest economies, it had a big say in Europe’s future, often acting as a counter-balance to the Franco-German axis.
However, one must note that the UK has always been second-division players in Europe. Yet, Britain’s membership in the EU would be increasing its influence in America just as its close relations with America increased its clout in the EU. The EU magnified Britain’s global power, bringing with it trade deals with 53 other countries.
However, today the relations between the US and Britain have hit an all time low. There’s no unified position on Trump and his actions across the British political elites, that is why Washington has been reevaluating the ties it enjoyed with London for so long. The recent visit of Donald Trump to France on Bastille Day may serve as the most visible indication of this process. At the same time, Trump’s possible trip to Britain is up in the air. Berlin is as eager as Paris to take part in the contest that should determine Washington’s next supporting pillar in Europe.
As for emerging markets, rapidly developing economies will be more interested in dealing with great power blocks than with a small country with idiosyncratic rules and volatile politics.
To make the matters worse the situation at home doesn’t look any better in the UK. The British society has set foot on a slippery slope of moral degradation. This process is exemplified by the recent occurrences such as the growth of nationalistic hurray-patriotism and xenophobia in Britain, which are both extremely regrettable and unpleasant.
According to various British media sources, including the Independent, since the Brexit vote there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of crimes committed on the basis of racial and religious hatred. Religious communities across the kingdom are now complaining about an ever increasing number of discrimination cases.
According to the UK police, in the 12 months since the referendum on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, the number of such incidents in the country has increased by 23% compared to the same period last year. The largest increase in the number of hate crimes was recorded in Gwent County in Wales, where this number grew by 77%. Just a bit less significant increase was observed in the counties of Kent, Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire.
The reasons for the growth of xenophobia just like the widespread of lack of intolerance can be explained by the fact that Brits have naturally inherited racist views from their ancestors, while the absolute majority of the media sources in the kingdom exploit this repulsive aspect of the British character in order to attract readers and earn more money. Under a deceptive and attractive mask of patriotism, newspapers are more than willing to expose examples of “non-British” behavior to encourage their readers to hate and despise foreigners.
It’s been noted that the decline of Christianity is perhaps the biggest single change in Britain over the past century. For the first time in recorded history, those declaring themselves to have no religion have exceeded the number of Christians in Britain. Inevitably, the question of what is to be done about national Christian institutions will arise. Is it still appropriate to swear on the Bible in UK courts, since new Members of Parliament routinely refuse to do so?
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook“.