First Response: Brexit and the Politics of Fear

A dominant feature across this weeks readings was that of the idea that those that were opposed to remaining in the European Union fell into a specific demographic of those that were disenfranchised from globalization. The idea that immigration and regulation were perceived as negative by the leave camp was made evident in both journal articles as well as the Rivers of Blood speech.  The iconography of a river of blood clearly indicates the extremes that the leave camp feel globalization could potentially put them in.

A problematic aspect of this is the misinformation and logical extremes that arise from an issue such as Brexit.  Powell opens his speech in the video by saying “In this country, in 15 or 20 years time, the black man will have the whip hand over the white man”.  40 years have elapsed since that time and this has proven to be in no way shape or form the case but the important aspect of that statement is the fear-mongering.  Fear, as mentioned in both readings is a crucial aspect of Brexit.  The fear of losing ones livelihood to immigrants or losing the identity of the nation are the two dominant fears surrounding Brexit.

The main question surrounding this is how valid are these fears?  Obviously the ‘black man’ does not have the whip over the ‘white man’ but the idea of a loss of national identity is a much more valid fear.  Over 50% of British people for one reason or another felt that the United Kingdom would be better off without the European Union but was this the right decision or was the fear it was based on unfounded?

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