This is my first article in English because the topic relates to UK citizens, who, in general, don’t speak Bulgarian.
The original article was written by Nikola Penev, Ph.D., for Terminal 3. The translation is mine, I’m an amateur at that, so please correct me if I’m wrong.
The brexit supporters are shocked by their success. Nigel Farage – the leader of the xenophobic UKIP party admitted that the promise to redirect the 350 million GBP per week from Brussels to NHS is impossible. The referendum would probably have a different result without that promise.
The most probable new prime minister, Boris Johnson, has quickly changed his attitude and now has calmly directed towards a UK status, which is almost the same as it is now. Studies claim that over 70% of the people who voted to leave didn’t expect to win. Google marks a peak of the “what is the EU” searches. England is like a drunk, who jokingly decided to hit his left foot with a huge axe and a second after that went completely sober, understanding what he has done.
The price of the adventure now shows up as well. The quickly devaluating currency, the market crash, the loss of a lot of businesses and probably employment. The central bank has promised to inject the economy with an additional 500 billion pounds. In a country, that a lot of the population has low-interest big mortgage loans, similar actions are dangerous: the eventual inflation would increase the interests and the expenses of the normal citizens. It is now clear, that for Scotland, the alliance with the EU is more important than the alliance with the UK and the forming second independence referendum might succeed. The Northern Ireland peace is now possible due to the fact that there is no border with the republic. The little island’s troubles are just showing up.
Great Britain is becoming Small Britain incredibly fast.
The chaos, on the other hand, is giving a hope – that the EU will finally wake up from the long hibernation and will realize the dangers ahead. The irrational populism is eating the west world’s flesh for a long time. The process so far was fairly slow and was giving hope to the status quo that things can go the way they are and things will eventually settle. Things will not settle. We are facing some major challenges – the internal collapse of the west, hybrid and real attacks from two reborn Asian empires, terrorism, global warming. These issues won’t settle without some brave and smart leaders.
England’s exit from the EU is a historic mistake. Although the campaign was based on lies, paranoia and manipulation, it took advantage of quite authentic problems that the political status quo does not want to name. In the british case that is the unaccountability of the Brussels’ institutions. The average european doesn’t know what the European Parliament is doing or where the national government’s authority ends and where the European commission’s starts. The UK is a country with a strong democratic tradition and all Farage and friends had to do was to convince the majority of the population that the country is under the dictate of foreign unaccountable bureaucrats, in order to pull the country out of the EU.
It’s a similar situation with Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy in the USA. Relying on the complete economic stagnation of the working class, Trump has built a strong racist campaign with promises to close the borders, to expel the mexicans and muslims and to give jobs to those who lost theirs due to globalization. Those promises are in no way more feasible than Farage’s.
In France, the National Front is gaining power from decades of failed immigration policy.
In Bulgaria, populism is fed by the complete denial of the traditional parties to fighting corruption.
The picture is the same everywhere: the system denies fighting its own problems, some noisy populists appear, giving an enemy (the EU, mexicans, turks) and giving an easy-assimilating, impossible, solutions. The social networks give them an easy start-up.
So far the only real populist success was in Greece, where Tsipras promised the impossible, supported it with a referendum and later was crushed and humiliated by the EU. The UK, on the other hand, is too big, too important and too rich – it cannot be humiliated and each of its cataclysms will reflect the whole world. We are in a unique situation, where the populists, giving history a wrong turn, will have to deal with the aftermath of their own success. We’ll see a massive demonstration that the world is complex and connected and the simple radical solutions aren’t just harmful, they’re practically inapplicable.
The west’s hope isn’t that the UK will go in a long deep recession and a spiral of problems. No one has an interest of that. The hope is that the shock will wake up some strong and responsible leadership that will begin some deep reforms – in England, the rest of the UK, the EU, its members and overseas. The hope is that the globalists will begin solving problems caused by the enormous economic and technological changes over the last 30 years, rather than cheerfully pretending that the globalization brings only benefits, leaving the initiative to the anti-globalists.
The hope is that we will realize that the end of the story has not come at all, that the world is large and scoundrels are lurking anywhere. The hope is that common sense will propose and implement tough decisions, not allowing uncommon sense bringing us some brandy apocalypse instead of the end of the story.