When it comes to studying politics, what strikes your mind? Did you know all forms of politics in various countries vary from each other? While you live in the Eastern parts of the globe, the west may have its propaganda or range of political establishments. However, things seem a bit different in Europe. Consequently, centuries of European colonialism have resulted in considerable impact on determining and shaping inequities amid the same countries where several of them are yet to be addressed or discovered.
Even though this may sound like a trivial statement, it is very much the truth you would not want to miss out on. In 2019, the parliament of Europe passed a list of fundamental rights and resolutions that concerned the people of African Descent. Moreover, it called for an insightful perspective on slavery and colonialism, recognizing their contemporary and historical adverse effects on African people. Consequently, last year’s action plans of anti-racism declared that colonialism has been embedded in the entire European history and has profound roots in the society to which there’s no hiding or running away.
However, still in the EU, there are numerous ways to recognize, determine, let alone address the editorial and structural legacies of colonialism, for instance, the dividing virtue and lines between African Europeans and white people. Moreover, throughout the central regions of the EU societies, people of color are most discriminated against. Yet, speaking of differences and races amid white and people of color, it is not a part of the legal and political EU discourse.
Take Sweden’s case study.
When it concerns the drawing recognition of Europe’s colonial legacies, Sweden is a valid case that many people can study. As a result, after the 2nd world war, the nation projected itself as one of the moral superpowers without promoting any concerns with racism and colonialism. Moreover, it was one of the champions for global justice, equal rights, and solidarity.
Having said that, since the early 1960s, it stood against colonialism and racism at the United Nations and supported anti-colonial struggles and discriminations. Besides, it also funded the ANC in South Africa, if you did not know that. As a result, today, Sweden is only one of the world’s most significant donors of development aid, irrespective of being a small nation. Furthermore, Sweden also caught the public’s eye when it allowed generous permission of refugees per capita. And, we are talking about Europe here. And, if you are someone who believes in the Good Country Index, no one on the planet contributes more to humanity’s good.
Also, Sweden has constantly benefited from, participated in, and even contributed to colonialism’s international racial divisions. Between the 1st and 2nd world wars, the parliament of Sweden voted for a state institute establishment for promoting, studying, and conserving the nation’s race biology. Also, did you know that the commonplace conception during such a period was that the traditional and ethnic Swedes belonged or were associated with solid Nordic white European types? Moreover, they were a mere bystander to the entire racial order when it came to the world affairs that commenced with the European expansion in the late 15th century.
Addressing colonial legacies
Irrespective of endless efforts in the same respects, many other European nations have not recognized several global inequalities that result in colonialism legacies. Speaking of which, the United Nations’ Antonio Guterres, who is the secretary-general, stated that colonialism is one of those engraved veins that still reverberates in social injustices, international power relations, and the global economy.
When you move further into the topic, you will understand how former colonial powers refused to give up their hold and dominations at the World Bank, UN, and International Monetary Fund. Having said that, several European countries and governments have ignored and opposed UN resolutions with an intimidating majority held by the Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly, which called for an equitable international and democratic order. France, the UK, and various other European nations have also ignored the Durban Declaration implementation. And, this has been supported by Sweden.
When you think about it, European politics had gained a significant amount of ground when Brexit happened. And, when you talk about the tenacity and adversity in French political platforms, you would simply think about everything that can go wrong. Such is the magnitude of problems that cannot be fixed. This is where you have to think straight, or else; you will be losing a considerable amount of ground and sanity.
But, in the end, the EU countries still seem to be recognizing colonialism’s global impact. On the other hand, Sweden has a government agency that has been making constant efforts towards raising voices and awareness of getting racialized orders of European colonialism. Things have been slow but, slowly and steadily, things may change soon.
Featured Image Credits: Pixabay
This article by Jim Saker was previously published on theconversation.com
Britain’s car industry has faced a barrage of bad news in 2019. Honda is the latest casualty, announcing it will close its Swindon car plant, which employs 3,500 people, in 2021. It follows notice from Nissan that it is withdrawing investment from its Sunderland plant and the announcement of job cuts by Jaguar Land Rover and Ford.
There are lots of reasons for this retrenchment. Globally, there has been a stall in car sales combined with a glut in production. Then there’s the turn against diesel – once seen as a climate-friendly alternative to petrol. The VW emissions scandal has seen sales of diesel cars plummet.
So there are clearly bigger, longer-term trends at play than Brexit. But, for the UK car industry specifically, there are no positives in Britain leaving the EU. What’s more, the government’s handling of Brexit is making it easy for global car manufacturers to decide to leave the UK.
Honda’s Swindon plant. Ben Birchall/PA Wire/PA Images
How did we get here?
Japanese cars first came to Britain in the 1970s when demand started to surge. With the domestic car industry unable to increase production and meet this demand, Datsuns (now owned by Nissan) became popular – not least because of their superior build quality.
Japanese carmakers went on to establish a position in the market in the UK and across Europe and opened purpose-built plants in the UK, which became some of the most efficient in the world. When Margaret Thatcher was prime minister in the 1980s she promoted Britain as a gateway to Europe. Honda set up shop in Swindon and Nissan in Sunderland to avoid the 10% tariff on car imports from outside the single market.
Honda’s announcement that it is closing its highly efficient Swindon plant is a fascinating, albeit sad, example of how companies and politicians attempt to rationalize their decision-making. Honda has come out and said that Brexit was not the cause of the decision to close the plant in 2022. This has been jumped on by Brexiters attempting to either justify their position on leaving the EU or distance themselves from the ongoing negotiations taking place over the terms of Britain’s exit. But it’s incredibly hard not to see this decision, at this time, as a consequence of Brexit.
With Theresa May refusing to rule out a no-deal Brexit, it is incredibly difficult not to see it as a major factor pushing Honda to this conclusion. Honda is intent on developing its electric car range and is currently faced with the decision of where to do it. Why not do so at its existing factory? Swindon is based on the M4 corridor, which includes the towns of Reading and Bracknell, an area often described as Briton’s Silicon Valley – so the technology infrastructure would undoubtedly be available.
But a UK outside of the EU is not an attractive option for future investment, especially as Japan now has its own trade deal with the EU, which includes the phasing out of tariffs on cars over the next eight years. This is a benefit that will not include the UK if there’s a hard Brexit, which is still a possibility. So this uncertainty over the Brexit negotiations makes Honda’s decision totally logical.
Read more: UK’s post-Brexit trade with Japan in jeopardy while uncertainty persists
It is also why Japan’s politicians have pressed for a soft Brexit ever since the referendum result. This has been increasingly vocal as the Brexit date approaches. Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, has told Theresa May that the “whole world” wants to avoid a no-deal Brexit in January.
As well as Honda and Nissan, Toyota is the third big Japanese carmaker with UK operations. It has not made any Brexit-related announcements yet and this could be linked to the fact that it has concentrated on hybrid technology since launching the Prius in 2000. This means it has been more immune from shifts in environmental thinking and has just launched the production of the new Corolla at its Burnaston plant in Derbyshire. Toyota has said that decisions are not being made beyond the next five to six years.
So despite attempts to downplay Brexit as the reason for the break up of motor manufacturing in the UK, there is ample evidence that Brexit – and the uncertainty that dogs the UK’s future relations with Europe – is the last straw. Carmakers across the world face myriad challenge to stay profitable; they don’t need Brexit to add to their troubles.
This article by Jim Saker was previously published on theconversation.com
About the Author:
Professor Jim Saker is the Director of the Centre for Automotive Management and a long-standing Professor of Retail Management with a close working relationship with the automotive sector.
He has been involved with the automotive industry for more than 20 years and was a co-founder of the MIRA Business Unit in 1992. He is often found in the Automotive Industry Power 100, a listing of the top most influential people in the sector, and he is a member of the UK Government’s Leadership and Management Panel. He has been elected as a Life Fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry for his contribution to motor industry education.
Professor Saker’s research interests lie in the area of channel power relationships and strategic developments in the motor industry.
Featured Image Credits: Pixabay