„Britain wants out“ – Der Brexit und seine (kulturellen) Hintergründe

Veröffentlicht von am 1.10.2016, 10:09 | Kommentar

Großbritannien verlässt die EUAm 23. Juni hat Großbritannien mit einer knappen Mehrheit von 51,9% für den Austritt aus der Europäischen Union gestimmt. Deutlich wurde dabei eine tiefe Spaltung des Vereinten Königreichs: England und Wales waren für den Brexit, Schottland und Nordirland dagegen. Vor allem junge Menschen stimmten für einen Verbleib und gegen den Austritt. Doch warum haben die Briten sich gegen die EU entschieden? Gibt es dafür kulturelle Gründe? Wie ist die Stimmung in Großbritannien im Moment?

Nina Merrens ist gebürtige Engländerin (Manchester) und arbeitet seit 1987 als interkulturelle Management Trainerin und Coach in München. Dort hat sie auch ihr Beratungsunternehmen „Intercultural Communication“ gegründet. Zu ihren Schwerpunkten zählen globale Management-Entwicklung, internationales Team-Building, interkulturelle Trainings, personale Führungskompetenz und Coaching. Am Zentrum für Schlüsselkompetenzen (ZfS) der Universität Passau hält sie die Seminare „Authentic Leadership“ und „Kulturraumkompetenz Großbritannien“. Wir haben mit Frau Merrens über den Brexit, mögliche (kulturelle) Hintergründe und seine Auswirkungen gesprochen.

ZfS: What was your first thought when you heard about the result of the vote? Did you expect such an outcome? Why (not)?

Nina Merrens: I slept badly on the eve of the referendum, but never really believed GB would exit as I assumed the British public would not come to such an unwise decision. I looked into the internet at around 4.30 am to see Nigel Farrage celebrating Britian’s “Independence day” and was reminded of an over-excited schoolboy with a red face, talking nonsense. I was deeply shocked. I remained glued to the internet all morning, following the events of the morning and finally, David Cameron’s speech that he would be stepping down as prime minister. I had the feeling this would have far-reaching negative consequences not only for Great Britain, but for Europe, and the world.

ZfS: Which role do you attribute to Great Britain’s insularity?

Merrens: I believe the insularity has always been there at the heart of the nation and I often referred to this “island mentality” in my GB seminars in Passau. The British are an island folk, with the history of once being an empire, proud, independent and victorious, and have a sentimental view of this is how Britain is, or should be. So, a combination of geography and history, coupled with a growing mistrust of increasing immigration and the Islamic world… This has been systematically encouraged by the boulevard press over the past years.

ZfS: What do the British criticize about the EU?

Merrens: The British never have liked to follow rules – “Rules are made to be broken” and always railed against any regulations coming from Brussels. Regulations against when a sausage can be called a sausage made front page news on the Sun several years ago ;-). In addition many people felt there was too much money wasted in the EU and immigration policies were too lax.

ZfS: England and Wales voted for Britain to leave, Scotland and Northern Ireland wanted to stay. Do you have a possible explanation for that?

Merrens: I believe for many in England and Wales, the vote to leave was also a protest vote against David Cameron’s and the conservative party, who have been seen as far too detached from the everyday people’s needs in the provinces. As far as Scotland is concerned, I feel the Scottish have long felt to be more of a part of Europe, also as a kind of protest against England. It also gave them the chance once again to reassert their independence from the UK.

ZfS: The situation is very unclear at the moment – no one really knows how and when the Brexit will happen. Can you describe the atmosphere in Britain?

Merrens: It’s hard for me to say, as I am not in the UK right now. From what I hear the views are polarising as to where GB should be and the atmosphere has become more extreme, with acts of racism on the one side, and protest marches to stay in the EU on the other. Winning so many medals in the Olympic Games was of course good news for the Brexit people – encouraging national pride and the “we can do it alone” mentality.

ZfS: Is there anything you would like to add?

Merrens: I am personally very sad about the referendum and it is the first time in my life I feel a little embarrassed to be British. I am seriously considering applying for a second passport – a German one!

ZfS: Thank you very much for the interview!


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