Alexander Betts: Why Brexit happened -- and what to do next
Alexander Betts - Social scientist
Alexander Betts explores ways societies might empower refugees rather than pushing them to the margins. Full bio
"I am British" elicited so much pity.
where many of us like to believe
over the last thousand years.
imposed change on others
had voted to leave the European Union,
the very existence of the United Kingdom.
shock for many people,
that, over the following several days,
in the first place.
for not fighting it hard enough.
the less well-educated.
in the streets of Britain
my country is becoming a Little England,
a 1950s nostalgia theme park
that we've experienced since?
that took place overnight?
that have led us to where we are today?
and ask two very basic questions.
about our society
that we seem embarrassingly unaware of
education, class and geography.
to vote in great numbers,
to leave the European Union.
that most strongly committed
there was very strong ambivalence.
need to recognize and take seriously.
the vote teaches us something
is no longer just about right and left.
between those that embrace globalization
those who wanted to leave --
as opposed to "Remainers" --
and the second sovereignty,
to take back control of their own lives
are unrepresented by politicians.
that signify fear and alienation.
back towards nationalism and borders
is more complicated than that,
include myself in that picture,
back into the picture
how we've got to where we are today.
across the United Kingdom,
was the very little time in my life
in many of the red areas.
looking at the top 50 areas in the UK
of four days of my life in those areas.
of the voting districts.
as inclusive, open and tolerant,
our own countries and societies
is we need to find a new way
have not necessarily been to university,
grown up with the Internet,
by the narrative that we find persuasive
more broadly and understand.
the politics of fear and hatred,
the idea that the vote on Europe
and asylum-seekers coming to Europe,
had nothing to do with immigration
of the Leave voters
with the political establishment.
a political party that spoke for them,
that political establishment.
and much of the liberal democratic world.
of Donald Trump in the United States,
of Viktor Orbán in Hungary,
of Marine Le Pen in France.
is in all of our societies.
is my second question,
liberal, open, tolerant societies,
rather than leaving them behind.
of the positive benefits of globalization.
the movement of capital,
international relations scholars
also has redistributive effects.
for the economy as a whole
for the most impoverished in our societies
from the fact that it's positive,
have to share in those benefits
of the United Nations, Kofi Annan,
of inclusive globalization.
in which he coined that term.
has to be open to all
and antagonistic globalization."
was briefly revived in 2008
of European countries.
and the financial crisis of 2008,
almost without a trace.
to support a neoliberal agenda.
part of an elite agenda
on a far more inclusive basis
how can we achieve that goal?
addressing fear and alienation
offers some places to start.
both ideas and about material change,
as a starting point.
of civic education.
and empirical reality.
to a postfactual society,
to the clarity of evidence.
and evidence into our liberal democracies?
that there are huge gaps.
on attitudes to immigration,
of immigrants increase,
with immigration also increases,
didn't unpack causality,
not so much with numbers
and media narrative around it.
about the nature of immigration.
in the United Kingdom,
of immigration than they were,
the levels of educational migration
of overall migration
on key aspects of globalization.
that's left to our schools,
to begin at an early age.
that we all encourage as societies.
that I think is an opportunity
across diverse communities.
for me very strikingly,
in the United Kingdom,
the regions of my country
have the highest numbers of immigrants,
the most tolerant areas.
that have the lowest levels of immigration
and intolerant towards migrants.
who maybe can't travel
even on a local and national level,
with people who we don't know
not necessarily agree with.
is crucial, though,
post-Brexit is really striking.
who voted to leave the European Union
benefited the most materially
that those people in those areas
to be beneficiaries.
were actually getting access
and increased mobility around the world.
predominantly to do with refugees,
I spent a lot of my time preaching,
around the world,
the integration of refugees,
the refugee populations,
of the host communities in local areas.
is that we have to provide
education facilities, health facilities,
of those local populations.
around the developing world,
to really take seriously
in the economic benefits,
need a model of globalization
have to take people with them.
I want to put forward
more responsible politics.
social science evidence
across different countries
and mobility on the one hand
from a cursory look at that data
are far less tolerant of globalization.
like Sweden in the past,
is a tragic polarization,
between the extremes in politics,
of that liberal center ground
and a shared understanding.
upon our politicians and our media
and be far more tolerant of one another.
to be an inclusive and shared project.
are not mutually exclusive,
takes everyone with us
democracy and globalization.
About the speaker:Alexander Betts - Social scientist
Alexander Betts explores ways societies might empower refugees rather than pushing them to the margins.
Why you should listen
In media and in public debate, refugees are routinely portrayed as a burden. Professor Alexander Betts argues that refugees, who represent a wide spectrum of professional backgrounds, are in fact an untapped resource that could benefit nations willing to welcome them into their economies.
Betts is the director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, where he spearheads research on refugee and other forced migrant populations. His book, Survival Migration, explores the predicaments of people who are fleeing disaster yet fall outside legal definitions of refugee status.
Alexander Betts | Speaker | TED.com