Brexit: Which insecurities?

In this chapter, we will analyze the securities and insecurities produced by Brexit.Our research has led us to consider that intelligence gathering, sharing and cooperation with the EU won’t be drastically changed and undermined after Brexit. While May has suggested recently that the UK might end intelligence cooperation with its European neighbors, we feel that it is a bargaining tool for the Brexit negotiations to come. We are optimistic that pragmatism and diplomacy will eventually prevail (Simons 2017). Furthermore, we would like to point out how Brexit is a symptom of the failure of multiculturalism in the UK which is expressed through poor political leadership and populism. A society which is much more sensitive to its own diversity would be better suited to ensure divisions, suspicions and civil liberty weakening to establish an illusion of security.

British EU security nexus: Cooperation and Brexit

It had been stated that Brexit is not likely to affect British intelligence capabilities. It is expected that the state will maintain its partnership with Europe’s security cooperation, if there are not major changes to follow. It imposed its status as the most important European partner in security matters due to its advanced intelligence capabilities. Moreover, the UK’s intelligence is not entirely dependent on the EU. British agencies mainly cooperate with the “5 Eyes” including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, it can be stated that after Brexit, Britain’s collection of intelligence data will not suffer that drastically as its main partners are non-European states.

Carrera, Guild and Luke (2016) observes how the UK has “played a very active role in the development of EU policy on police cooperation and access to data for law enforcement purposes. (…). The UK is also a member of several EU Agencies, including Europol, thereby providing it with access to the Europol Information System, and Eurojust. Brexit means that the UK will lose access to these information tools for law enforcement purposes and the support and cooperation (…) (2016: 4)”. To guarantee a space of common security multiple tools have been used for counter terrorism purposes in the EU. The PNR, Passenger Names Records, are permitted to sharethe EU names of passengers for better cooperation and intelligence gathering. Moreover, the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) has been used to arrest people wanted in the UK in the EU, facilitating their extradition and judgment in front of UK courts. In this security nexus, the UK had a particular position in the EU. Securing “the privilege to pick and choose – formally called an “opt-out” – whether or not to implement EU JHA legislative initiatives, (2016: 1), ensured parliament’s sovereignty regarding any EU legislation. The UK-EU counter-terrorism framework is therefore the product of a double-sided cooperation in which the UK played an essential role. Therefore, Leaving the EU may result in a lost connection with existing security structures and higher costs which may follow in the efforts to rebuild that network of cooperation.

On the other hand, in his analysis Javier Argomaniz (2011), questions consistency of the EU counter-terrorism framework. The EU proved that it’s having serious problems in coordination practices and is facing serious struggles in addressing intra-institutional coherence (2011: 67). He characterized the field of counter-terrorism as a “crowded policy area” (2011: 69) in which multiple actors acted with “overlapping competences and duplication” (2011: 69). This permits us to consider that the EU states have more to lose than Britain. The UK’s leadership position in terms of intelligence would be powerful negotiation leverage, ensuring the pursuit of EU-UK security relations.

As pointed by Guild, and Luke Carrear (2016), the UK, may also lose a number of genuine effective security tools such as the PNR, the EAW and the special collaborative ties with Europol. On the other hand, in some ways, Brexit would simplify a legislative process, giving more power to the government.

Brexit and UK-born economic fears

The Brexit campaign was driven by an economic fiction setting the need for safer immigration control to protect UK-born economic interests. Wadsworth, Dhingra, Ottaviano and Van Reenen (2016) argue that immigration has increased the overall national income and doesn’t affect UK-born people and income prospects.

“EU immigration has been rising sharply (after 2004), UK unemployment for those born in the UK rose – but then fell back to a very low level, while EU immigration kept on rising. Indeed, despite the global crash, the rise in unemployment for UK-born workers was much less than in previous downturns when EU immigration was much lower.” (2016 :39)

Therefore, they conclude no significant empirical evidence demonstrates negative effects of EU immigration on average employment, wages, inequality or public services for the UK-born. However, falls in EU immigration “are likely to lead to lower living standards for the UK-born. This is partly because immigrants help to reduce the deficit: they are more likely to work and pay tax and less likely to use public services as they are younger and better educated than the UK-born » (2016:49).

Multiculturalism failure, fear of multiculturalism or institutionalized racism?

Another political fiction narrative that was argued was that secured borders would permit to control an influx of those who are believed to be a national threat. These political fictions have created moral panic and have manifested in the shape of Brexit in the UK, an emboldened National Front in France and the travel ban, banningnationals from seven Muslim states in the US. It marks the re-emerging power of white, national born nationalism which results in the public fearing strangers and is prevalent among Western democracies. The strive for isolationism poisons social cohesion and increase the gaps between nationalcommunities. Divided nations, in turn, increase Britain’s vulnerability to foreign terrorism. What is not yet clearly understood and researched in academia is Brexit’s underlying resistance to cultural change and institutionalization of the neo-orientalist paradigm. Orientalism (Said 1978) exposed Europe’s intellectuals to an increased curiosity and attraction over the Middle East. It described a West-Islam dualism and reduced humanity. Neo-Orientalism (Bayat 2015) describes western modern trend towards a fear of Islam. The Neo-Orientalist shift explains why increasing Muslim nationals are facing discriminatory practises. Fear, driven by movies, media, experts and politicians tends to point to inner and foreign enemies, but are characterised by their affiliation to Islam. Dislike for immigration and cultural change might be one of the key drivers among those who were on the ‘leave’ side in the Brexit referendum (Kaufmann 2016). Huysmann and Buonfino (2008) demonstrate the way resistance to cultural change contributes to anti-asylum and anti-migration securitising policies. For Ragazzi (2016) points how multiculturalism failure comes partly from connections made between multiculturalism and ‘home-grown terrorism’. Alam and Husband (2013) rightly declare how in nations where populations were increasingly heterogeneous, “the issue of coexistence has never been more salient”. (2013: 235).

Conclusion: Brexit is a long-term insecurity; it makes us less resilient

Brexit, therefore, reflects the growing and long-standing anti-multiculturalist and anti-immigration tendencies in British society. EU referendum results express the growing fear of the ‘Other’. The risk lies in over-securitization resulting from every terrorist attack. Growing panic would progressively expand the gap between British Muslims and other British citizens, increasing discrimination, advocating institutionalized forms of exclusion and undermining social cohesion. British politicians should recognize the way overreaction and implementation of the short-term, exceptional security strategies affects the long-term construction of British society. In many ways, this over-securitization is the main source of insecurity for British citizens after Brexit.

 

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