Do you remember Brexit?
Do you remember the constant media coverage? The family arguments over leave or remain? The political moment that taken down two prime ministers.
I would be surprised if you do not. But since we now live in a pandemic, the media chooses to constantly report COVID-19 instead.
If you think Brexit is a thing of the past, you are wrong.
Over eight months have passed since the United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU), and during those nine months, many sectors of the British economy have found themselves unprepared.
And those sectors happen to be predominantly working-class sectors.
But what does this mean?
The Financial Times report that since Britain left the EU, almost a third of British companies that trade with the EU have suffered a decline or loss of business. Moreover, combining Brexit and the pandemic, thinktank claims that Britain’s economy is on track to suffer more than £700bn.
People often shrug the idea of the country losing more than £700 billion. But realistically, it will collectively affect us in some way. And there is a high chance it will affect working-class people the most.
To start with, why is the economy important?
Scholar Devi Parameswari explains that the economy can help improve living standards, therefore making society a better place. According to the researcher, the economy is used towards institutions like science that “improves living standards. It partly depends on the priorities of society and what we consider most important”.
So now we know that the economy is important, what sectors will be hit the most?
The combination of Brexit and COVID-19 will affect the British one way or another. Investopedia has reported the “few winners” and the “many losers” of Brexit, and they suggest the fishing industry, and the food and agricultural sector – sectors that many working-class people work in – are two of the many losers of BREXIT.
Nevertheless, the surprising winners of the Brexit vote are UK and EU manufacturing of specialised machine parts, the mining industry (that professionals argue is unsustainable for the environment), and of course, US bankers.
What does this mean?
From the evidence suggesting which sectors will be hit the most, it is clear that working-class people will be affected the most. Intriguingly, statistics show that working-class men would be hit the most from Brexit. Yet statistics also show that 64% of the working class, and 55% of men voted for leave.
And with sectors such as the fishing industry – a predominantly working-class industry – having been “sold out”, was Brexit a working-class mistake? Or was it a plan?
According to the London Economic, the fishing industry is “worth <£500 million to UK GDP (or 0.1 percent, 0.02 per cent of GDP)”. The organisation further explains that since the industry has “no money with which [the tories has] to lobby… it was logical that the Tories wouldn’t care about fishing”.
Moreover, with the agricultural sector bringing 0.6% of GDP, do the politicians care about the farmers – with 56% of them voting to leave. Although the idea of making free trade deals, and receiving food from other countries is apparent. Yet, the working class will be the ones eating American chlorinated or hormone-pumped meat as they may not be able to afford food from the EU.
Although Thinktank reports that the economy is expected to grow by 5.7% this year and to recover its pre-pandemic level at the end of 2022, the working class must prepare themselves for the real disaster – Brexit.