By: Maude Collins, Franklin and Marshall College
For 16 years Britain waited to be apart of the European Union. For 44 years after that, they developed one among the strongest economies in the world. However, because of an incredibly close split of 52% to 48% this nation is now leaving the EU. Fed-up with the rising emigrant population and wanting to relieve the strain they have on public services, 2% the population pushed the vote to exit this bloc of nations.
But now Britain is feeling the consequences of this decision.
Islamophobia drove the “Leave” supporters over the edge, as the EU was unable to keep the migrants of the Middle East away. The played up fear of ISIS attacks was the catalyst the “Leave” supporters needed. Their campaign message was, ironically, “Take Back Control.” However, with this departure the lack of control Britain has over its economy is apparent through its decline.
The value of the pound has dropped by 13%. The Sterling has not been at such low levels against the dollar since the mid-1980s. In fact, on July 8th the pound overtook the Argentinian Peso and became the world’s worst performing currency in 2016. Additionally, Britain’s economy is shrinking at a quarterly rate of 0.4%, creating a big blow to services and manufacturing sectors.
As a dual-citizen with Britain, these outcomes of this impulsive decision outrageously upset me. I grew up knowing that I had many opportunities to work and spread my roots in the EU. However, these fortuities were taken from me because of a 2% mistake. With this depressive outlook, I tried to focus on the benefits that were presumed to be the result of the separation. However, even those seem to be imaginary. People believed that Brexit would bring in more cash flow to the National Health Service; however, they have not received a penny.
Besides the effect Brexit has had on Britain’s economy, there have been many social impacts as well. In July 2016, there was a recorded 41% increase in race hate crimes. Data collected from 31 police forces showed that 1,546 religiously or racially motivated crimes were recorded in the two weeks up to and including the day of the referendum. However, two weeks after the vote this number rose to 2,241. This disturbing effect of Brexit has been felt through the EU. After Zdenek Makar, a 31-year-old Czech man was killed in London, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic urged to Theresa May to prevent post-Brexit.
These overwhelming and substantial consequences have forced me to reconsider my British roots. Having been born in London, but quickly moving to Italy after, I do not remember my time there. I yet remember visiting when I was little and especially when I spent a few days there before I ventured on a trek in Spain. These trips inspired me to live there just as my parents did, but now I am unsure. If a 2% gap in a vote can force a thriving nation down a path of destruction, what does that say about their future? Furthermore, what does it say about my future if I come in more as an emigrant than a citizen, when the population voted for their decline because of the influx of emigrants?