Tuesday February 20, 2024

Brexit could expose UK to dictation by US: scholar

By our correspondents
February 02, 2018

Brexit has disrupted the status quo and there could be chaos in the post-Brexit era. These views were expressed by Professor Dr Markus Daechsel, a scholar of history at the Royal Holloway University of London, while addressing a gathering at the Area Study Centre for Europe (ASCE), University of Karachi, on Wednesday morning.

He said that one of the results could be that in order to fill in the vacuum created by the UK’s departure from the EU, the UK might find itself drawing closer to the US, which means that it would be dictated to in many spheres by the US, which in turn may not be agreeable to the British people.

He said that just for an example, the issue of chlorinated chicken and genetically crops could sour matters as these two commodities were most unwanted in the United Kingdom, but the UK would be forced to allow them. The UK, he said, may be forced to accept many other realities as price for drawing closer to the US.

Prof Daechsel told the gathering that actually, the issue of leaving the EU had never preoccupied the British public too much. It was never mooted very seriously. “A third of the public wanted a departure from the union, while another third were intent on remaining. Another third were in the middle.”

Actually, he said, it pertained to the internal politics of the Conservative party. The Conservatives under David Cameron, he said, had pledged to keep the UK within the EU. Therefore, he said, most citizens who were casual about the matter had hoped that whether it was the Leave or the Remain campaigns that prevailed, the UK would still continue to be in the EU. Besides, those who voted against EU membership were not made aware of the consequences.

“Ironically, it was not the Eurosceptics who were paranoid about immigration into the UK. In fact, they favoured immigration as that would create a pool of cheap labour so imperative to a deregulated economy.” Actually, he said that it was an issue for a certain faction who were deadly opposed to immigration into the UK for other non-economic reasons, led by Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP)

He said that as for leaving the union, many thought that the EU was an antithesis to British values and British national identity. For this they quoted the examples of British institutions, pride in British culture, the Church of England, and other institutions and concepts synonymous with Britain. These people, he said, were the older generation who wanted the conditions that prevailed when the UK was the world’s leading power.

Another reason, he said, was the gaping disparity between various regions of Britain. For instance, he said, the prosperous parts of the UK like London, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Bristol, and Cardiff massively voted for the Remain option, and the economic difference between them and the north of the country was gaping. It was the people of the north, he said, who were totally in favour of leaving.

In Oxford, he said, 75 percent voted in favour of the Remain option.

He said that according to information trickling in, manipulations were going on for a second referendum on the issue. As for the EU, he said, UK departure was just one of the many issues.

Earlier, Dr Tasneem Sultana, acting director, ASCE, tracing the history of the antagonism, said that the resentment to the EU membership intensified after the Maastricht Treaty.

“While German reunification and the arrival of former Soviet Satellite states into the grouping strengthened the integrationist fervour, Euro-scepticism was making inroads into the political establishment at Westminster. In the early 1990s, she said, the Anti-federalist League which later morphed into the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), started to build an anti-EC platform,” she said.

Talking about the current situation, she said that the UK establishment was divided between “soft” and “hard” Brexiteers. This disharmony, she said, could give rise to uncertainty, which was extremely detrimental to any country’s economic health.