Brexit coincided with peak inequality – causes and effect?
Brexit may be key to the future of inequality in the UK, and inequality may have been key to making Brexit. Growing inequality created so much, from tax-evader-vote-funders to mass discontent.
The UK currently has the highest recorded level of income inequality of any European country. This is probably not a reflection of its economic efficiency. Free markets are often inefficient. It may be part of the reason why Brexit is occurring – creating most of the ‘Leave’ drivers. And Brexit may also make such extremes of inequality hard to sustain for much longer.
Part of the lead up to the events of 2016, 2017 and 2018 were election campaigns that spread fear of immigration in 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s. Hostility to the EU was whipped up, it was not held up at any point for long. The story of the geography of Brexit voters has been distorted by the press and many initial academic reports. Most Leave voters lived and worked in the South of England. But inequality had a strong impact on the vote and voting may also have been deeply influenced by our badly understood legacy of having been the largest ever Empire. Yet 52/48 – may be a good ratio for moving forward. Had Leave lost we would be facing a second referendum. Had they won by more than 52%, a hard Brexit would be far more likely. And today anything is possible:
To listen to the full talk here:
Danny Dorling speaking at the Regional Studies Winter Conference, London, Bloomsbury, 15th November 2018. The day seven UK government ministers resigned over Brexit. The excitement may have made it harder for some to understand the instruction: “Keep in mind that a question is a statement that takes less than thirty seconds and ends with a question mark” 🙂