Nigel Farage has recently been making headlines for voicing his support to Brexit, a step, which if implemented would strip the Great Britain of its European Union (EU) membership. According to “Independent News,” on June 12, 2016, he stated that exiting the EU “would be good for exports.”
Farage has often garnered attention for his strong eurosceptic stance that actively and openly opposes the very formation of the EU and ridicules it for weakening the national integrity of the state. He has always sided with minds that are for decelerating the integration within the EU, and hence, finds solace in Brexit, which offers a compatible solution.
European Parliament website biography of Farage, indicates he was born on April 3, 1964, and is a well-known public figure who wears many different hats. He is a former commodities broker, a British politician, a Member of Parliament (MP), and currently, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).
The UKIP chief, famous for his extreme and far-rightist political opinions, appears to have found solace for his eurosceptic ways in the upcoming verdict on the Brexit move. According to “The Economist,” the landmark political decision of Brexit, which would decide whether or not Britain will choose to remain a part of EU, will take place on Thursday, June 23, 2016, when the entire country holds a referendum and votes for or against Brexit.
Many reasons exist, with most of them being political, as to why a pro-Brexit faction that includes Farage has been particularly unwelcoming of Britain’s deeper integration with the Eurozone and would like to see it move out, both metaphorically and geographically. However, as reported by Vox, the strongest reason supporting Brexit is the current economic condition of the EU. The European world has been unable to rise above sluggish financial performance it exhibited post-2008 global economic slowdown.
Even though the financial crisis emanated from the U.S., which negatively affected the dollar, the Federal Reserve’s business acumen put the country back on the path to recovery post-2010. The U.S. Central Bank increased the money supply in the market by lowering interest rates, thus, firmly dealing with the market downturn.
At the same time, the European euro was also caught off-guard by the economic slump. However, in a panic mode, it started to succumb to the crisis, rather than combating it. The European Central Bank (ECB), erroneously embraced a contractionary economic policy in 2011 that raised the interest rates. Consequently, the money supply in the market decreased, instead of being increased. This threw the EU, especially Greece, into a double-digit recession, germinating apprehensions about the collapse of the entire European economy.
Fortunately, the British pound sterling did not allow its country to be directly impacted by the recession. Though, it definitely increased fears in the hearts of the Britons about the imminent jeopardy surrounding their membership of the European politico-economic entity, whose wrong financial decisions could extend the reach of the euro-like disaster to even their country. This thinking served to fan Britain’s long-simmering euroscepticism.
The political case supporting Brexit rides high on the emotionally charged and controversial issue of immigration. Ironically, those voicing their concerns and criticism are worried about the economic strain this political issue is placing on Britain’s resources, especially on jobs and wages.
The concerns have strengthened the hands of leaders, like Farage, whose eurosceptic ways seem to have found the ultimate solace in Brexit, as a viable solution to the problem. Farage makes a far-rightist argument for Brexit by slamming the entry of low-waged immigrant population from other parts of Europe. He stated, “apart from depressing the wages for indigenous Britons, it would increase competition for government services and also put British women at a greater risk of sexual violence,” adding a pro-feminist tone to his statement.
His racial tone did not end there. In fact, he even pointed out the need to ban all immigrant visits to U.K. for National Health Services (NHS) treatment purpose, especially those not holding a valid health insurance. He, further, stated the ban is necessary for preventing the risk of passing on HIV infection to the Briton population, according to “Independent News.”
Banning immigrant visits are only possible if Brexit is implemented. To prove his point, he cites the example of Australia, which specifies the immigration age limit to under 45 years, coupled with having legitimate educational and professional credentials lending the immigrants the eligibility to seek employment, alongside a clear proof of having no criminal background as well as a health insurance.
Paradoxically, the loud-mouthed Briton refrains from discussing much on the negative economic implications of Brexit. Financial experts suggest that it the move would put a strain on the British pound sterling once the country enters the post-Brexit phase.
According to “Independent News,” the market reacted shockingly to a Brexit poll that took place on Friday, June 10, 2016. The results of the survey showed a ten-point lead for Brexit. The outcome was a sharp fall in the value of the pound against the dollar, at $1.41, its lowest closing figure recorded since April 18, 2016. Also, speculations are rife with more currency-sliding in the offing until the Brexit decision is finally made.
However, Farage, based on his prior financial markets exposure, is quick to dismiss this turbulence in currency as being scary or a cause of worry. He suggests, “ever since the debate surrounding Brexit gained steam in March 2016, the pound was up, as evident from FTSE, which maintained its level since then.” In fact, he views it as a healthy development that would help boost the exports.
The above dialogue indicates conjectures being made about the likely impact of Brexit on the European world in general and Britain in particular. The real picture would be revealed only on June 23, 2016. However, what does appear is Nigel Farage’s increased willingness to find solace for his eurosceptic ways in Brexit, even if it is short-term.
Opinion by Bashar Saajid
Edited by Cathy Milne
Europa: European Parliament MEPs – Nigel Farage
The Economist: The Brexit Briefs – Our Guide to Britain’s EU Referendum
The Vox: Brexit, the UK referendum that could tear Europe apart, explained
Independent News: EU Referendum: Nigel Farage claims pound sliding after Brexit would be good for exports
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of European Parliament’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Images Courtesy of Euro Realist’s Newsletter’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License