Unsplendid Isolation — 4 Reasons Post-Brexit Britain is Looking Lonely

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Both sides in Britain’s 2016 Brexit referendum were accused of applying more heat than light to the debate — either allegedly misinforming voters or leaving them scrambling in the dark.

And there now seems little consensus amongst UK government ministers on major policy positions, with this lack of consistency placing them in a weak bargaining position.  

As events unfold, it seems that the early confidence the British leadership projected in terms of dictating divorce terms and re-joining the front of the international trading queue may have been misguided.

So Britain’s post-Brexit isolation is looking increasingly unsplendid — here are four reasons why.

  1. Education

A recent policy briefing by the Centre for Global Higher Education suggests that the distribution of EU students in the UK might become more uneven after Brexit.

And English universities outside of large cities will likely see the largest drop in numbers.

After withdrawal in March 2019, EU students will probably be treated as international students — subject to the higher course fees this entails.

Significant numbers may still be attracted to prominent London universities and Scotland’s extension of free tuition for EU students to the 2019-20 academic year.

But Brexit may compound the problems of smaller English towns and cities that already struggle to attract applicants, jeopardising their future viability.

  1. Immigration

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot claimed that, as the architect of Britain’s ‘hostile environment’, Prime Minister Theresa May should take ownership of the recent Windrush debacle.

But the departure of formed Home Secretary Amber Rudd and replacement Sajid Javid’s firefighting efforts to make amends have shifted the spotlight for the moment.

In other immigration news, almost 4000 European nurses and midwives left the UK between 2017 and 2018, with only 800 arriving — according to Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) figures.

To plug the gap, the UK is attempting to recruit replacement staff from nations like Jamaica and India.

However, it’s emerged that 400 Indian doctors recruited by the health service since December subsequently had their entry visas refused by the Home Office, and this lack of joined-up thinking could be costly.

  1. Airports

British holidaymakers looking forward to future European breaks received bad news when watchdog Which? warned post-Brexit plane tickets might not be valid, the rights to claim compensation and refunds may evaporate — and requisite airspace could even be denied to carriers.

And a report by airline analysts anna.aero revealed that a hard Brexit could have a serious impact on smaller airports like Liverpool and East Midlands, which are heavily reliant on Britain’s access to the European Single Aviation Market.

EU destinations account for 81 and 90 per cent of departures from the above hubs respectively, dropping to 35 per cent at Heathrow.

Related UK businesses involved in airport parking and niches like catering, security and maintenance will naturally be keeping a close eye on these developments.

But if travelling to Europe becomes trickier, perhaps domestic holiday destinations like Blackpool will enjoy an unexpected boost.

  1. Trade

With so much uncertainty over the mechanisms that will facilitate Britain’s future trading relationships with Europe after Brexit, it’s been suggested that the UK’s special relationship with the US might stimulate a robust new transatlantic trading partnership.

However, a recent report by American academics at Harvard University revealed that officials in the US and UK administrations are sceptical that any significant deal will materialise.

The experts warn that the US regards Britain as a minor trading partner and may exploit this imbalance to squeeze ‘politically unacceptable’ concessions from Westminster.

Which leaves Britain touting for business with prospective partners like Turkey — a nation whose political instability and human rights record might not have previously placed it at the top of Britain’s list of trading targets.

The Brexit movement still enjoys considerable support from sections of the public and political power players.

But these four reasons post-Brexit Britain is looking lonely highlight the rocky road ahead with less than a year left to get a grip on the wheel.

How do you think the UK will fare after Brexit? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

 

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