On 23 June, I wrote a Facebook post that said:
“A states sovereignty is not undermined or tarnished through its affiliation with an international organisation. It is rather enhanced because the state stands with its vetoing/decision making abilities whilst part of the organisation. Britain being, in this case, the longest standing stable sovereign nation in all of western Europe. I’m not a rocket scientist but enhancing accomplishments seems like a better option than heading into social and economic domestic uncertainty. That will be an example of a sovereign making a bad choice, no? Vote wisely.”
The post was ambiguous and void of persuasion for a particular vote. The aim of the post was to emphasis that during the campaigns discussions on the socio-economic impact of Brexit were only (and still has only been) about immigration, if not a scaremongering tactic.
The impact of Brexit on the working class have been totally disregarded in the Brexit equation. For most part this seems fair given that in the initial stages of implementations after 29th March 2019 we will see a hard hit for the middle classes. Yet as the prices of common goods and some services begin to rise we might also witness striking changes to our poverty lines. I refer to poverty in a relative sense.
Following the noise and upheavals from parliament over the past few weeks with MPs resigning, it would seem that the focus for the past two years on the Brexit matter has been largely focused on a strict middle-class dialogue, that which involved tory politicians travelling to Brussels deliberating on deals for businesses. The Prime Ministers creation of five Business Councils to provide advice for conditions of businesses after Brexit proves this. However, after last week there were little reminders of austerity and consideration of poverty.
Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, on his visit to the U.K. said “the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society will take the biggest hit from Brexit” this of course is because people fear that their homes, jobs and communities are at risk, and rightly so they are.
The Archbishop of Canterbury also expressed that prayers were needed for ‘the most vulnerable in our society, whose lives will be shaped for better or worse’ by the Brexit negotiations. In true British fashion nonchalance to take the drivers seat while fingers point at the Prime Minister, and now we are faced with cabinet secretaries taking and leaving roles as though cowardice is en vogue.
Today, to our detriment, it seems a light bulb has switched and pertinent domestic issues, such as austerity and poverty have now risen to the surface. All issues that have social and economic implications for the working-class. By referring to ‘the working-class’ they can be defined according to the 21st Century Seven Social classes in the U.K. classified as ‘Emergent Service Workers’ and the ‘Traditional Working Class’.
Socially, as kids in public schools in the U.K. grow up without a sense of recognition of Europe in their everyday lives. Be it the lack of motivation of learning European languages or a failure in understanding the low livelihoods of other European countries through migration, all which harmless things the E.U. has afforded to the working-class.
Economically, the disadvantages existing before may also continue to exist, if not deteriorate. The emphasis here is placed on this strict dialogue that surrounds London and Brussels where the ‘top-dogs’ speak while towns beyond the capitals of Wales and Scotland bask in destitution given their heavy reliance on the E.U. funding.
There is no doubt that conversations surrounding Brexit have been made out to seem enormously technical. This has gone to the extent that one would think leaving the E.U. was a private conversation between ministers and civil servants in Westminster and their likes in Europe. Of course, there is some truth in claiming that Brexit excludes the working class opinion.
Of course, this goes without acknowledging the fact that some working-class individuals did vote to leave. Yet, it seems in these negotiations the ‘breakthroughs’ promised to working class voters were merely tactics used to wheel in support. I do not imply that somehow working-class voters do not have a voice in Britain or are handicapped in their ability to process politics. I merely point out that the most attractive aspects of the leave campaign for working-class people was presented in an apocalyptic manner. This makes it seem like they were used as easy prey in achieving a goal, further than that they have been dumped and their needs forgotten. Today it seems conversations around Brexit completely excludes talks about money for the NHS or more jobs.
It is an established fact that many people in the U.K. live in poverty. This is not a hidden fact anymore. But it seems nobody is interested in questioning how leaving the EU will impact drug dealers in Dundee, the homeless on the streets of Yorkshire or unemployed graduates from working class homes. So I ask what will Brexit mean for the working class besides getting poorer?