Afterimage Review

BREXIT – Has Britain saved itself?

EU was intended to strengthen Europe in the face of a global economy, but it's not working. Staying on the same path would have led Britain to a slow demise.

I know the EU was intended to strengthen Europe in the face of a global economy, but it is clearly not working, says Richard Wagner. 

I have a love/hate relationship with Britain.  I have some ancestors from England, some from Scotland, and some from Ireland (might explain the “love/hate”).  I once strongly identified with my English heritage and attempted to move there.  When I arrived in London in August of 2006, the first thing I noticed was – Where’s England?

I couldn’t tell if I was in some shopping center in middle America packed with pseudo-European department stores, or one of the more westernized portions of Arabia, like Dubai.  But it was a few days before I found an actual pub.  Lots of fake European sandwich “bars” (actual Europeans would sooner starve), but pubs were hard to find near Victoria Station.  I expected fish n’ chips and English accents.  Instead, I found an unappetizing melting pot.

I know some of you are thinking this sounds a little xenophobic, but stay with me.  

I lived in London for over a year, and anyone who knows me can tell you I have few fond memories.  At first, it was culture shock.  But it didn’t take me long to get used to being around people from all over the world.  I made friends from various parts of Europe, I had several Islamic friends from different parts of the Arab world who were first generation British citizens.  I even met an Englishman or two.  

With that said, I found that most of the hostility towards Englishness came not from the Arabs, the Indians, or the continental Europeans, and certainly not Americans.  It was certain self-loathing English people.  In America, we sometimes call them “liberals”, but that’s a broad term and hardly describes these people.  It’s more common now to call them “social justice warriors” (SJWs) and sometimes “the regressive left”.  The English SJWs welcome masses of immigrants while scorning English culture.  They ridicule whatever is left of Christian England as being misogynistic and racist, while not holding ethnic minorities even close to the same standards.  

To tell you the truth, I rather enjoyed the company of my Islamic friends in part because they were so honest.  They weren’t beaten down by decades of Anglo-American political correctness.  We could talk about controversial issues such as gay’s rights, public displays of religion, etc without being called “racist” or “xenophobic”.  Believe it or not, we even discussed the Crusades.  Yes, I, a devoted Christian sat in a room of mostly Sunni Muslims calmly discussing the Crusades!  

While there was plenty we agreed upon, such as a mutual respect for both Saladin and King Richard I, we disagreed on the obvious.  They, as you might expect, saw the Crusades as a foreign invasion.  Realist that I am, I saw it as a balancing act against the rising Islamic world.  But guess what?  Nobody got angry.  We were able to go on eating together and talking together.  Yes, it is possible to be labeled a “racist” by SJWs and have friends of different cultural backgrounds, much to the dismay of the SJWs.  

The Muslim friends I had in Britain don’t pose the slightest threat to the British culture, or their national identity.  However, if a country does not vet immigrants, or vets them very poorly, it does risk losing its cultural structure in the melting pot of the cultural abyss.  While Muslims are the popular target in Britain, I fail to see how they are any less British than the French, the Italians, Indians, Asians, etc.  

Properly vetted immigration can be very positive for any country.  Often ambitious immigrants, eager to move to a new country, are very hard working and will greatly appreciate the country that they worked so hard to get into.  Studies show that immigrants actually create more jobs than they take.  Any sovereign country has a right to have borders and enforce those borders.  

The EU, however, not only erodes that sovereignty, but it’s slowly crumbling.  I love the Greeks, but their country is a mess right now.  I don’t see any way out for them other than lots of sacrifice, hard work, and short term pain.  (My Greek-American friends largely agree, by the way.)  Some other countries in the EU have similar problems, and stable countries like Britain and Germany can’t keep bailing them out.  

Somewhere there is a balance between respecting other peoples, and protecting Britain’s national identity.  Britain is made up of England, Scotland, and Wales, but it is primarily the English culture that stands to lose the most to Europeanization and globalization.  The aforementioned SJWs of Britain would love to erode Britain’s culture into a melting pan-European entropy of militant secularism and crowded night clubs.  They’re even starting to claim that displaying an English flag (St. George’s cross) is somehow “racist”.  Adding to my point about Muslims above, I’ll point out that actual Muslims in Britain don’t seem bothered by it.  But opportunistic SJWs love to exploit ethnic and religious minorities to push their counter-cultural agenda.

They do it in America, and they do it in Britain.  And it is they who claim that St. George’s cross is so offensive to Muslims.  For now, they go a little easier on the Scots and the Welsh, as these are also historically oppressed groups, but I wouldn’t recommend the Celts get too comfortable.  Take it from a partly Irish-American.  The SJWs will toss you under the bus too when it suits them.  Despite history, you gain nothing from the erosion of English culture, or British sovereignty.  This isn’t the days of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.  

Pros and Cons of Brexit

In leaving the EU, Britain will lose some short term economic benefits largely related to trade.  However, Britain reclaims sovereignty.  Britain reclaims the right to enforce its borders.  And Britain separates itself from liability for the economic turmoil in countries like Greece.  I hope that 50 years from now, 100 years from now, and 1000 years from now, Britain will still look like Britain.  I hope that the nearly 2,000 year old Church of England, rooted in the Christianity believed to have been brought by Joseph of Arimathea, continues, even if as only a piece of history.  I hope the crown is still there.  I hope you can still get a decent fish and chips, covered in malt vinegar.  I hope people are still cracking jokes about English food, but can’t help but like it anyway.  If you have the option of a kabob at a fish ‘n chips shop, that’s fine.  But don’t lose the fish ‘n chips.  If the pub also offers halal burgers, OK.  But don’t lose the bangers and mash!  While I appreciate a nice European lager, there’s nothing like a pint of Courage Best Bitter down your gullet!

What to do now

I’d strongly discourage patriotic Brits from trying to drive ethnic minorities from their land.  A thriving Islamic minority poses no threat to Britain’s cultural identity.  Like in America, the biggest threat to the Anglo-Christian majority in Britain is from self-loathing SJW ethnic-Brits, as white and privileged as they come, and the EU works to their advantage.  

I know the EU was intended to strengthen Europe in the face of a global economy, but it is clearly not working.  Europe still depends heavily on the US military presence to maintain the power balance with Russia, having an economy too weak to support a strong military.  Many countries in Europe have turned to China for loans since the Great Recession of 2009.

We will see short term economic pain in Britain during the adjustment, and the financial markets are going crazy.  I don’t expect the real economy of Britain (the actual jobs producing stuff, rather than just shuffling money on speculation) to feel as much short term pain.  I do know that the value of the British Pound has plummeted, dropping to 11% below the Euro.  I don’t know if that will last, but I do know that there is a silver lining to a weak currency.  Exports usually increase.  That means Britain could build its manufacturing sector.  

I do know that staying on the same path would have led Britain, like Europe, to a slow demise.  I remember the London Job Market in 2007, just before the Great Recession.  It was easier to find a job in America DURING the Great Recession.  I also remember that immigrants were often willing to work for less than minimum wage under the table.  God bless their work ethic, but it isn’t good for the British economy as a whole.  It only benefits the unscrupulous business leaders who exploit their plight.  Many of these immigrants were actually European, usually Polish.  They were actually in the country legally, but the job market was so miserable, that they worked as you might expect illegal immigrants to work.  

I think Brexit is for the best.  I’m hoping Britain can enforce a reasonable system of immigration that allows a modest number of law abiding people to enter the country legally (with lower population density, we can more easily integrate immigrants in America), and I’m hoping that on their own, they’ll be able to build a better economy.  But only time will tell.




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About the author

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He conducts independent study on the American conservative movement and foreign policy. When he is not talking politics, Richard is an aspiring novelist, and culinary hobbyist. Richard holds MSc from London School of Economics in Political Science.


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