Brexit has had some interesting effects on the culture of Britain, even in the short term. One of the more interesting, which may or may not have far-reaching effects, is the dramatic uptick in the number of Brits opting for German citizenship.
How many Brits are becoming Germans as well? Several thousand, apparently, as approved requests are up 361 percent. And Germany is not alone in receiving new English affection. Foreign passport applications have skyrocketed since the Brexit vote. This is in anticipation of losing certain rights British people currently enjoy as members of the European Union. These rights include the “automatic” right to live and work in any other EU country.
Countries also feeling the love from the British include Sweden, Poland, Italy, and Hungary … among others. Ireland passport requests jumped 41 percent, which means upwards of 65,000 British citizens have requested these passports.
Thanks in part to its recent Imperial past, the British passport is one of the most versatile in the world, allowing passport holders more mobility than many other similar passports from other countries. Yet, as more Brits are planning to travel abroad, an increasing number of foreigners living in Britain are considering going back home. The expat community is huge in Britain, and it’s getting much smaller. Nearly 120,000 EU citizens have already returned home, according to government data. That’s up 36 percent over this time last year.
Those returns are likely music to the ears of pro-Brexit Brits who tend to be more committed nationalists who would rather Britain have its independence from international economic and political entanglements, including foreign workers.
But each of these factors is drawing a deeper line in the separation between pro and anti-Brexit voters. The initial “pro” vote surprised many, even those who supported leaving the European Union. The fallout already cost one Prime Minister their job and a second PM their government majority … and the political fallout seems to be far from over.
As the government of Britain continues to figure out what British life will look like post-Brexit, many in the private sector are considering this question as well. What will business be like? Will it be better? Worse? Will there be more opportunities for trade, or will trade be restricted? Will this mean more jobs in Britain for British people, or will companies leave, looking for better environments?
There are a lot of questions, and every one of these questions is tied to multiple potentially positive or negative PR narratives. Decision-makers in both public and private life need to be fast to take up the narrative thread and present strong, compelling reasons why their perspective is the one the British people need to embrace.