Times have been tough globally in recent times, with so many events making international headlines for all the wrong reasons. But with crises being felt amongst almost every nation in the world, why is there such disparity between the consequences for each nation and their respective government responses? I am fortunate enough to be currently studying in Germany and have access to the myriad cultural differences between all of the various people from nations across the world that I have met whilst here and what is more apparent than ever, in my opinion, are the grievances that other countries have with our government and our policies.
The mini-budget brought in by Liz Truss’ government in September 2022 was, undeniably, one of the worst policies by any government within or outside of the UK for a long time. Its effects plunged the forecasts for the UK economy and the stock markets towards some of the worst projections in generations, with Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey warning that the UK was just “hours” away from “total financial meltdown.” To be blunt, this made the UK the laughing stock of the European economic scene and plays a big role in the fact that the UK’s GDP percentage change compared with pre-pandemic levels sits at -4%, the only major economy to be in the negative and with projections looming that we may only return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024. So what do the other nations think about this?
Of course, a lot of this article will be opinion based, however, the corroboration of interpretations I think speaks volumes. Within university lectures, I have had multiple German scholars talk about the outdated and Thatcherite doctrine that the UK government had been adopting, which they were subsequently quick to pick apart and expose the weaknesses of. Lots of thoughts have circulated online and amongst policymakers that the UK has become a ‘Banana-Republic.” When I asked some fellow students about their thoughts on the UK’s current economic position, they shared the same responses almost unanimously - that they couldn’t believe that the UK government, allegedly full of some of the best-educated persons in the world, could be so destructive in such a short amount of time and many even went on to say that they were grateful for their countries’ economic positions, after having previously been aggrieved by their own government’s policies.
Some people were very interested in the appointment of Rishi Sunak, a previous Chancellor of the Ex-Chequer and thought that maybe the situation would cool itself with his appointment. Time will have to tell with that, however, the already prevalent tensions between members of the party and across the political and societal landscape, given the very controversial appointment of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary or Gavin Williamson into cabinet given his disgraced exit (just to name a few), have already thrown any credibility that Sunak might have to grasp the crisis into question.
Inflation is at a 41-year high in the UK at 11.1% and naturally, all parts of the world are struggling. However, an easily comparable statistic is inflation in the eurozone which lies currently at 10.6%, a high figure but still below that of the UK. Experts can debate the causes of this problem and all the other problems that the UK is facing, however, from my experience and from all the information I can gather whilst being abroad and managing to speak with such a diverse European community, there seems to be one cause that is believed to prevail above all else. A cause that has riddled the economy and the UK in general since it was even thought of last decade. A cause that many wish they would never have to hear of ever again but unfortunately refuses to go away. That is of course… Brexit. Let’s just say it isn’t particularly welcomed in Europe and possibly after the comparison between the UK and the EU during these crises, it won’t be particularly well thought of in the UK for many years to come.
Edited and Reviewed by Tanish Bagga.