Brexit deals 'damaging blow' to confidence, report finds
PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 August 2018
Britain has turned into a "rudderless place" which has lost trust in its government due to Brexit.
A new report, published exclusively by The New European, has found Britain to be a country on the brink of “peak political apathy” in the wake of the decision to quit Europe.
Returning to five areas – Barnstaple, Sheffield, London, Canterbury and Machynlleth – which where all visited immediately after the 2016 referendum, researchers spoke to British and foreign nationals in the hope to find out if and how the nation’s mood has shifted.
They found a country which has lost trust in its government, united by frustration more divided than ever along the lines of race, class, region and age.
The report states: “When we last spoke to the British public we traced how both sides of the divide felt. Today, we have found a UK that is still divided along many fault-lines, yet united in its renewed disillusionment.
“Rather than remaining a symbol of Britain striking out strongly on its own, Brexit has dealt a damaging blow to the nation’s confidence.”
Identifying five key shifts in the publics view, researchers found both Leavers and Remainers felt the country has moved into a position of weakness and vulnerability.
One young Remainer told researchers: “Brexit has presented more questions and precious few answers from the government. Britain looks stupid to every other country, it’s not good for relations.”
Another thought Brexit had allowed the government to become distracted: “The government are so focused on Brexit that they’re not concentrating on the real issues like the NHS and education. There’s a lot of crime and these really important issues are being neglected now because Brexit is taking up so much time.”
While a former Brexiteer turned Remainer said: “The language of Brexit has changed a lot. People have been thrown off because they don’t understand it anymore.”
The report, titled The Illusion Of Democracy was carried out by Flamingo, researchers spoke to a mix of Leave and Remain voters, foreign nationals unable to vote and young people unable to vote in 2016.
The findings came days after a survey published by Sky News found that three quarters of the British Public – 78% of those surveyed – think the government is doing a bad job negotiating Brexit.
Desirée Lopez, CEO of Flamingo, said: “Two years on, the fault line triggered by Brexit has arguably led to a shift in the global political tectonic plates.
“Nation after European nation has turned to the far right to seek political solace, and the United States, mired in accusations of corruption and electoral interference, no longer acts as international policeman to defend the west from its enemies; pivoting instead towards unpredictability, instability and isolationism.
“What we found was a picture of a wounded, rudderless place. The UK today is as divided as ever along lines of race, class, region and age.
“But the polarising jubilation, relief (and devastation) seen in the immediate aftermath of the vote have now been replaced by a more united sense of frustration, disillusionment, and a collective and potentially dangerous apathy towards mainstream politics.”