Pictures of the U.Okay. within the Shadow of Brexit


Britain is dragging its way through its fifth major election in five years: a third general election, though parliaments are to take five years; and two referenda, one on Scotland's independence, which lost, and the other about Brexit, who won.

The holiday victory in June 2016 has since defined and destroyed British politics, causing havoc within the traditional parties and causing a vulgarity and cruelty to public life that even for the British still seems very unusual.

It has created new divisions in society and a harsh English nationalism that threatens the future of the Kingdom of Scotland and Northern Ireland were deeply concerned about leaving the European Union and doubted the bright future that cheered the Brexit prophesy.

Perhaps the strangest thing is that the majority of Britons now think it would be better to stay in the European Union. However, according to the same surveys, most Britons also believe that the results of the Brexit referendum must be respected. After talking three and a half years ago, they want politics to respect their voice, even though they now believe it was a mistake.

Just as they trudge back to the elections, this time in winter, the British are exhausted. They have an unappetizing choice, for many, between Boris Johnson, a conservative upper-class conservative, and Jeremy Corbyn, an aging Socialist almost as unpopular as Prince Andrew, whose juvenile nickname "Randy Andy" no longer seems so amusing.

Britain is concerned that traditional loyalties are breaking at the height of a transition to the unknown. The soldiers of Queen Elizabeth II, who are 95 years old, and her heir, Charles, the Prince of Wales, are growing closer to the profession for which he was born at the age of 71, when most people retired are.

So the clever slogan of Mr. Johnson and his Brexit advisor Dominic Cummings fits in with the sentiment: "Do Brexit." No more stalemates and arguments, so many years after the referendum. Put lipstick on the pig, which was the deal of his predecessor Theresa May with Brussels.

This will, of course, usher in another round of protracted trade negotiations, but the "Brexit" will take place in a figurative sense anyway.

What happens then? Right now, few seem to care.

Andrew Testa, who took these photos on a long tour of Britain, sums up the mood he found as closely as his gaze took over the country. "It's all about the referendum," he said. "People say, 'We chose, so it has to happen, no matter what the consequences.'

Those who voted in favor of Brexit had many reasons: British sovereignty, English nationalism, European bureaucracy, anger over German and French influence in Brussels and fears that too many foreign immigrants constituted the national structure built over centuries and regional identities could dilute or change.

The Somerset Carnival is one of the ancient traditions that some in England fear will be undermined by one The changing demography of large-scale immigration of workers from poorer parts of the European Union.

The creation of significant Polish-speaking neighborhoods with burdens on local schools and health care led to a major vote for Brexit in Lincolnshire. The immigrants also created a competition for work, and even in areas with few immigrants, British workers who have lost their industrial work often blame foreigners for their problems.

After Brexit, new immigration controls can severely limit the number of immigrants People are allowed to work and live on land. This has some businesses, especially farms, cafés, hotels and restaurants worried about labor shortages.

Some who voted for Brexit have since rethought and saw some of the consequences, particularly for continental trade, of Britain's largest market. Many products will be subject to higher duties and delays in shipping, and some subsidies from the European Union, especially for agriculture, will eventually disappear.

John Gray, an organic farmer who took over from his parents, believes his daughter, Rebecca, now 14, could replace him in time. But he is worried about leaving the European single market and what that means for his beef and lamb.

Others in Northumberland, like shepherds, also regret their Brexit vote. Angry about the paperwork required for European subsidies, they now face the possibility of losing those subsidies altogether. And then there will be paperwork for customs and health regulations if they want to continue exporting their products.

The connections to Europe have inevitably damaged earlier ties with the post-colonial Commonwealth. The Brexitians predict new trade relations with the former colonies, including the United States, which would offset the loss of European trade.

Some British of Indian and Pakistani descent voted for Brexit to limit the number of Europeans who could come here to work and live, and then thought there would be more room for South Asian immigrants.

One of the key points to "completing" Brexit was the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. "No hard border with Ireland" was one of the great achievements of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which brought the island a great deal of peace.

A decentralized government was created in Northern Ireland and most of the weapons were decommissioned by paramilitary groups on both sides – Republicans demanding reunification with the Republic of Ireland and loyalists fighting for it in the United Kingdom stay.


The pact paved the way for agreement by agreement, but more tangibly removed the border posts between North and South and allowed free movement and freedom of trade, similar to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

But now, Johnson's Brexit Plan threatens this peace by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the economic orbit of the European Union and separating it from the rest of the United Kingdom – something the Unionists consider a historic "betrayal". "

These photos show life on the border; no one wants to reconstruct this border, at least with all the tensions and violence that might arise from it. People here are tired of the games that have taken place since the referendum in 2016 and many are tired of being at the mercy of distant politicians in Westminster, many of whom regard Northern Ireland as a backward nuisance.

The passions, anger, and toxicity caused by Brexit were most apparent in the regular demonstrations in front of the Houses of Parliament, where the loudest of the two sides gathered with their flags, loudspeakers, and placards. Here also the television cameras appear. It is a form of democracy in the age of television, but it hardly improves the quality of the debate.

The London Bubble is also sacred and too often revolves around England, the commerce and financial interests of the City of London. These things are important – the UK economy is about 80 percent dependent on the service sector, not industry or agriculture.

However, the debate within the London Bubble often overlooks the fatigue and anger of the other three nations of the kingdom – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Only Wales voted for Brexit. But Brexit has inspired independence movements of varying strengths in each one of them.

England accounts for about 84 percent of the UK's population and has the largest share of wealth. So there are resentments of other nations that have their own history and their own gatherings, but often feel patronized by England, London, and the news media.

This feeling is particularly strong in Scotland, where about 8 percent of the population live and which is ruled by an openly separatist party, the Scottish National Party. Even in Wales, which is much more closely linked to England and accounts for only about 5 per cent of the population, independence is an issue.

History is important. Every country lives from its tribes and its myths and its past successes. Great Britain is no different. One of Brexit's driving forces was Britain's long-standing sense of separation from the continent, which for centuries had been cut off from the English Channel, which is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point.

The Channel Tunnel has just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The British Empire was also largely non-European, and Britain, of course, was on the winning side of World War II. The British fought bravely against the National Socialists and were never occupied. They held on long enough for the US to go to war and defeat the Soviet Union in the east.

Coastal batteries and radar stations may now crumble along the British coast, but pride in the victory over German and Italian fascism, especially in the face of a conquered and occupied continental Europe, remains a crucial thread of British identity.

The post-war French President, Charles de Gaulle, considered Britain as a seafaring island nation to be something else, vetoing his application for membership of the then European Economic Community in 1963 and 1967.

Britain finally joined on January 1, 1973 after De Gaulle's death. Now, 47 years later, she is preparing for departure. A new chapter in the history of the island begins.

Produced by Mona Boshnaq and Gaia Tripoli.


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