Whatever happens today, the past couple of months have shown the true state of British politics

 

Is the United Kingdom becoming the global capital? Is Brexit the first choice of the British people? The Tsunami of Brexit is taking the world by storm on social media. Voting to Leave or Remain in the European Union will be the people’s choice and the fate of the UK will be sealed today.

The parallel arguments of the In and Out campaigners have left voters confused. As a last minute attempt this article examines the politics of international relations, and whether the thinkers who want to leave the EU are the enlightened lot or not.

The complex arguments of globalisation and the outcome of the referendum will be historical. However, this campaign had a masculine voice to it, recalling the feminist argument whether politics is about male domination.  The recent loss of Jo Cox MP raises the question of whether British politics needs to be so masculine, and also raises concern for the safety of female politicians.

The focus is on the Conservative Party leader and PM David Cameron who granted the referendum veto to the British public in 2011. The Labour Party were campaigning to remain IN the EU. Tony Blair, the former PM, has been debating about globalization since 1997 and his thinking is in line with Obama’s political strategy. Blair’s original argument was that the world is becoming interconnected, making it nearly impossible for nation states to become independent or isolated. His ideology of the global community and the people inhabiting different states as being global citizens was highly controversial.

Critics have argued that his arguments to remain in the European Union have been self-interested, aiming to defend the first world. Post-Westphalian interpreters of the twenty-first century have maintained that it is a new form of imperialism. The Parliament and the bureaucratic commission is weak in the European Union, and it poses problems for political globalization. The EU undermines globalization in favour of increased regionalization for trade, labour and markets.

Nigel Farage’s controversial photograph showed no elderly women or children and baffled the voters as the picture showed only youths. The Guardian issued a statement that the photograph used was of migrants crossing the Croatia-Slovenia border in 2015, with the only prominent white person in the photograph obscured by a box of text. Challenged about its message, Farage said:

‘This is a photograph — an accurate, undoctored photograph — taken on 15 October last year following Angela Merkel’s call in the summer and, frankly, if you believe, as I have always believed, that we should open our hearts to genuine refugees, that’s one thing. But, frankly, as you can see from this picture, most of the people coming are young males and, yes, they may be coming from countries that are not in a very happy state, they may be coming from places that are poorer than us, but the EU has made a fundamental error that risks the security of everybody’.

Therefore, those in British society that stand with the Vote Leave campaign, in essence perhaps, believe in the emancipation theory which is the Theory of Enlightenment. If the EU Referendum in Britain is the enlightenment project by which independence can be achieved by human reasoning, then the British people are applying their knowledge to free themselves. Believing, arguably, that they can free themselves and their world from superstition and forces of ignorance.

However, for emancipation theory to exist, it has to be critically evaluated, and challenged from a conventional understanding. What we saw in Britain were quite sharp debates from contemporary liberalists of Vote Remain camp and Vote Out camp. The reader needs to understand that democracy in Western societies, and in particular the European model, for a fair and equal society is different to the arguments of religion and secularization in the modern world. But there is also the question about financialization in the UK that has actually challenged existing democracy today and therefore, the enlightened group changed the narrative and exposed how people were thinking on social media.

The global patterning of superiority, intellect of culture, and ideas about ways of living, was also a provoking factor in the EU debate. The encounter between the colonizer and colonized was challenged on Facebook, Twitter and various other social media platforms. And the rhetoric of exploitation of resources, organisations and people of Africa, Australia, East Indies, and Native America that was based on colour-coding, was on billboards. The racialized hierarchies separating out white Europeans from indigenous public by the inherent colour of skin, hair, shape of eyes etc., were presented as naturalized differences.  The EU Referendum campaign linked biological facts, such as black /white skin, to help assume the particular values of Britain’s cultural philosophies and intelligence of worldview.

On the other hand the whole idea of financialization is what caused the housing crisis in London. This concept emerged from making money from money and in this highly sophisticated game, London property was pawned to financial investors such as Arabs, Nigerians, Russians and Chinese. The politics of the London housing crisis is reduced to two issues: high demand no supply, and whether to build more inwards or outwards, and on the green belt. The third argument is generation rent. Who is the housing crisis for? If there’s no housing crisis for banks, agents and lawyers, the people on the social housing ladder are affected, hence the rising rents.

The current anti-austerity demonstrations and uprisings in the UK caused controversy in British political debates. The whole question about politics, democracy and aesthetics was re-examined. Naturally, in the realm of politics everyone was asserting themselves because of equal rights, and this formed the precondition for political arguments on the EU vote in Britain. All the political parties: Tory, Labour and UKIP, were offering technical solutions depending upon how they thought best for their constituencies. The disruption in the subjective minds of the voters was caused by their individual perceptions and political understanding about the aesthetics of governance in Britain.

There is a crisis in Britain that encompasses housing, education, health and employment as these resources are scarce. While the financial crisis affects the British people on a day-to-day basis.  The EU Referendum debates became highly controversial because the banal rituals that affect the British public in everyday lives fell outside the politics of the globe. The debates on the merits and demerits of the European Union raised the question of whether British citizens were ready to deal with the complex issues of globalization. Furthermore, the recent death of an MP raises the question of direct democracy and the issue of representational politics. Has the British government itself failed to balance that relationship between citizen and politician? As a result, the whole EU debate is stirring different levels of conversation.

The EU debates in Britain were aggressive and the tone patriarchal. The death of Joe Cox raises the question of feminism and politics. Her murder was embarrassing for the UK Parliament as it exposed the virile and vigorous nature of politics where an MP was brutally murdered for national interest. If the British citizen acknowledges that international politics maleness and the patriarchal nature of state power is at the top of EU debates in the UK, then the proposition of the balance of power in Westminster itself becomes questionable. What might have been spluttered in such debates by the male vocals at the domestic front does not constitute the whole reality, because in the real world there are multiple realities and perspectives around the globe. It also raises the question of the purpose of these vocal debates and whether the arguments should be accepted or rejected on the grounds that they were biased.

The men dominated political debates in this EU Referendum — something that can largely be blamed on the media and broadcasters for their social construction of maleness and femaleness. I say this because the masculine construction is more favourable to them. An experience which is then epistemologically validated and imposed on women, thus preserving the privilege of politics to males.

The fact that Westminster wants a tighter coordination on UK policies, and also the devolved powers of Scotland and Wales, is not only shaping British politics but also EU relations that are at the centre of these debates. Over the years the effects of EU institutional constraints have become noticeable across central and subnational levels of governance.

While European integration has had a certain effect on policies of Westminster concerning agriculture and trade, with other issues such as crime, police and border control the EU has had much less influence.

Although the expansion in structural funding has strengthened opportunities, European integration has also strengthened the claims from subnations for greater autonomy. The existing devolution has likewise created uncertainties and blurred responsibilities, while adding some territorial tensions in the United Kingdom.

The rational choice to Leave or Remain in the EU is a subjective decision. No amount of media persuasion, critique of existing parties or demonisation of Turkey and immigration is ultimately going to change the fate of Britain.