British nationalism has led the country’s citizens to support Brexit, thereby furthering the interests of those in power wealthy enough not to feel the consequences of the move
The years-long process of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union finally came to an end with the start of 2021. On 1 January, the transitional period in which the parties had cooperated on previous terms expired.
Although London and Brussels have managed to conclude a trade agreement, Britain cannot avoid problems, Bloomberg writes. This is largely due to the fact that the British overestimate the influence and importance of their country.
“At the heart of almost everything Britain has done since 1945 is the belief of most of its people that we are special, different and important. Many medium-sized countries cherish this conceit to some degree – France, for example – but few allow it to influence policy”, – the article says.
Decades later, the Second World War still occupies a key place in British ideology, which, by maintaining nationalist myths, prevents citizens from accepting the harsh reality. Above all, both Britain, the US and the Soviet Union were involved in the conflict in very different circumstances and for different reasons. The United States is described by the agency as the “undisputed winner” because the country avoided casualties and destruction. On the contrary, the Americans used the chaos that engulfed Europe to bolster their economy.
The USSR suffered “indescribable human losses”, the material says. At the same time it was able to declare national success by taking control of Berlin.
But Britain, which had resisted the Nazis so desperately at the start of the war, was completely devastated by the end of the conflict. Moreover, it had lost much of its former clout, which led London to reluctantly join the European Economic Community in 1973. True, British elites naively thought they could dictate their own terms to Europe.
“They did not realise that Britain’s relative economic weakness, measured against the rise of Germany and the recovery of France, would make it impossible”, – writes Bloomberg. – “They also sold membership to the British people by falsely claiming that the EEC was purely a trading partnership that did not require the sacrifice of sovereignty. This was a deception known to all thinking politicians. Betrayal, to use a word favoured by Brexit supporters ever since.”
As a consequence, anti-European sentiment grew in Britain, turning into mass movements in the 21st century. Migration contributed to the situation, as most Britons consider the island overpopulated. In general, Brexit ideologues have managed to convince compatriots that all their troubles come from foreigners.
“Just as in the US, where many of society’s haves support Donald Trump out of economic self-interest, so in Britain a pampered, wealthy minority has formed an unexpected alliance with more modest Brexit supporters because they are privileged enough to be personally insensitive to the economic price that the nation will pay for Brexit. They share the dislike of the disadvantaged for the continent when it does not concern leisure destinations”, – the agency states.