Saturday, July 30, 2016

AFTER BREXIT: Money Stable, But Investment Leaving & Racism Rising

As the days add up to one week after the fateful “Brexit” referendum, a lot of events have taken place not just in Britain but in the rest of Europe that appear to indicate the far reaching effects and repercussions of the United Kingdom cutting its ties to the European Union. Some have been positive, some have been negative, and others have been most unusual.

When the referendum declared a victory for Brexit last week, the value of the pound sterling and the British stock market suddenly dropped like two rocks. Fortunately, the pound according to The Wall Street Journal seems to have recovered by Tuesday after gaining back losses from trading in Asia, alongside the general rise in the global stock market after the new reality has had time to sink in. But there are still some rough waters ahead if analysts have a say about it; with a big question mark still hanging on the post-Brexit politics and economy, the pound remains dangerously close to its 31-year all time low.

Continuing on this thread, British billionaire and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson shared with The Guardian some alarming news that many of the UK’s business partners from China have not only stopped making new investments in the country, but also withdrawing what existing investments are already in place, all in light of the uncertainty brought on by Brexit on the UK. Branson places the blame solidly on the fiery pro-Brexit politicians who have lulled the public as part of their campaign that there would be no significant effects in the global market from Britain leaving the EU. Already he is calling on the government to hold a new referendum, calling the Brexit promises lies, a position shared with Alistair Campbell, former communications director to former PM Tony Blair. The pro-Brexit camp is unsympathetic to the financial upheavals, with UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage dismissing it all as irrelevant nonsense.

On a more sobering note, on the heels of Brexit comes a sudden upsurge of racial abuse and race-related violence throughout the UK, with CNN reporting how London’s Polish Social and Cultural Center was vandalized with anti-Polish immigrant diatribes. Individual immigrants like Marianna Koli from Finland have been subjected to racist remarks days after the referendum, despite having lived in the UK for over a decade. Police have begun working alongside groups such as the Polish community in order to investigate and apprehend persons behind racial hate acts. A total of 85 incidents have been reported to authorities since Brexit.

Meanwhile, over in mainland Europe, the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) have posted a warning that, as the UK is the only EU member to have listed English as an official language, and with them having chosen to quit the Union, the English language as a result might no longer be used as an official language of communication between EU member nations, an unfortunate fate as it was already the dominant language of the Union. In response to Brexit, the European Commission, according to The Wall Street Journal, has stopped using English for their external communications, alternating instead between French and German.

As Prime Minister David Cameron, who has announced his stepping down in 10 weeks, washes his hands of the chaos surrounding the referendum, Britons call to mind the old but revived World War II patriotic slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On”. But with the Labour Party in disarray, and Scotland, possibly Northern Ireland and even the Gibraltar colony mulling over the possibility of breaking from the UK to remain in the EU, the future after Brexit looks very frantic, and shadowy.

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