The UK faces internal challenges

broken britain

La naissance de l’enfant du couple princier succédant au Jubilé de la Reine et aux JO avaient placé le Royaume-Uni sous le signe des festivités. Mais les années à venir seront peut-être moins roses pour le Royaume-Uni. La situation économique continue de mettre sous tension la société britannique. Le climat social reste délétère et l’accroissement des inégalités comme des tensions ethniques semblent menacer la cohésion même de la société britannique. S’ajoutent enfin les interrogations sur le maintien de l’unité politique et institutionnelle du royaume, confronté aux tentatives sécessionnistes écossaises et aux débats sur les modalités de son appartenance à l’Union européenne.

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A country on the trail of its lost growth…

After the subprime crisis which hit Britain’s financial sector, industry and employment badly, the United Kingdom has been leading an uphill battle to rekindle its economy. But Cool Britannia now has the situation more or less under control. If the economy keeps the same pace, growth will reach a high of 3.2% in December. This progress is a kind of miracle, even it the Bank of England’s effective policy helped a great deal by putting real estate and household consumption back on track. Gordon Brown and David Cameron’s “austerity policies” have proven friendly to corporations. Thus, even though some social centres, public libraries and rest homes went out of business, unemployment dropped to 6.4% (from 7.9% in July 2013). However, the outlook remains bleak for many Britons because GDP per capita is still lower than before the crisis.

A broken society?

When David Cameron became Prime Minister, he denounced a “broken society” due to inequalities, weaker traditional structures, rising insecurity and increasing mistrust between communities. Today, people are vocal against government policies with many demonstrations against spending cuts and austerity.

Furthermore, the UK has been facing a new challenge for several years: some religious groups have toughened up and thus shown the limits of Britain’s welcoming policies.

The monarchy, in spite of the scandals affecting the royal family and the fact it is out of kilter with the British society, remains a symbol of unity and stability in a world full of uncertainty. But unfortunately the monarchy is outdated in more than one way.  A part of the population, especially recent immigrants, can’t really understand the nostalgia for the past it is associated with.

What about the UK without Europe?

David Cameron’s project which consists in organising a referendum on UK EU-membership, is to take place during an eventual D. Cameron’s second term and may start a new era for the UK. While Europe is falling well behind, euroscepticism is spreading fast in Britain’s public opinion: UKIP clearly won the European elections with 27.5% of the votes. It was the first time since world war one that neither Labour nor the Conservatives had won an election.

Nonetheless, the UK has to be careful because the European single market is a real trump card and leaving the EU could jeopardise the UK’s future.

Vincent DE VIVIE & Samuel MATA

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