Associate Professor of Islamic Theology and Philosophy, The Muslim College London and Head of Interfaith, London Central Mosque and London Islamic Cultural Centre

By Dr Alhagi Manta Drammeh, Associate Professor of Islamic Philosophy & Theology and Head of Interfaith Islamic Cultural Centre London

The Brexit verdict is indeed a momentous and unexceptional historic occasion in the British contemporary politics. It has to be looked within the historical context of nationalism and internationalism that characterises British foreign policy as it were. The fact that Britain will leave the European Union has come as both a surprise and shock to many. It has sent shock waves around the world, not the least in the corridors of power in European capitals. Upon the declaration of the victory of the Leave camp, the European parliament President immediately demanded that the UK Government start the formalities of its departure from EU. The blame game has started already. Why would the sitting Prime Minister initiate a referendum in the first place? How did the Remain camp conduct the Remain campaign?

At any rate, the referendum for me has demonstrated once again the rootedness of democratic culture in the consciousness of Brits. Despite the fact that sitting minsters in the Conservative led government would go against their own Prime Minster, they were not either shut down or marginalised. Equally, some members of the Opposition Labour party voted for Brexit against the mainstream party line of Remain. It is reminiscent of how political problems are resolved politically through dialogue, persuasion and communication. As the verdict was against his political calculations, Prime Minster Cameron indicated he would step down in the winter to allow his successor to take forward the Brexit victory verdict.

The Brexit victory has big implications on the political, economic, financial, educational and social levels. On the political level, issues of bilateral and multilateral security become complex and cumbersome. The issue of migration will even be more complicated in terms of who is going to man the border regions between UK and other European states? Moreover, who is going to pay the bills of border policing and security? Also, it has created a state of shock and uncertainty about the UK relationship with Scotland and the rest of UK. We may be reminded that the Scots had a referendum to leave the union with the UK government. The Brexit might trigger on the horizon another Scottish referendum soon. Also, both the Tories and Labour have started intensely struggle over who should lead their party.

On the economic and financial front, the UK will have to do a lot to retain the big European and multinational corporations and companies that are currently operating here and the economic benefits they bring here in terms of employing thousands and of course contributing to the taxation system here. European Union has a population of about half a billion while the UK has a population of about 65 million. The numbers have significance an implication for trade and commerce. Despite assurances from politicians that mechanism have been put in place to absorb the post referendum shocks, the pound is said to have fallen about 2.5 per cent against the Euro. Already a petition to have a second Brexit referendum has hit 3.6 million signature.

The Brexit has social implications. It is unfortunate that a lot of focus has been on immigration and its cost without considering the benefits that immigration and migrants bring to the UK. Migrants have contributed greatly to the modern development of the UK and indeed played a pivotal role in the post war reconstruction efforts of the Great Britain. On the socio-educational level, scholarships and grants maybe affected and in particular the Erasmus arrangements that European citizens benefit from across the continent. Moreover, research projects between scholars of the UK and EU will be seriously hampered.

The Africans here in the UK must have learned precisely how democracy is at its best where politicians promoted their agendas on the intellectual political plane. In addition, I think it is of paramount importance that Africans play a more active and robust role in British politics so that their voice can be heard. In this way, they cannot be marginalised in the political process. No doubt, Africans constitute a significant minority in the UK and that has to be positively and constantly reflected in the socio-political and economic dynamics here and wherever they are around the world.

Indeed, Brexit has looming legal/constitutional, political, economic, educational and social politicians. We will see how the new Prime Minister will take Brexit forward. We are yet to see who are going to be new leaders of either the Conservatives or Labour.
By Dr Alhagi Manta Drammeh, Associate Professor of Islamic Philosophy & Theology and Head of Interfaith Islamic Cultural Centre London

Ends

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