In 2016 the UK was given the referendum vote, which 4 years on is still courting controversy. According to the following research, Brexit has also brought about a certain arrogance, narcissistic, uncaring approach, one that may have not been there before, and if it was, it wasn’t obvious.
Scientists from the UK, Poland and Portugal have looked at xenophobia around Brexit and have since measured the effect of xenophobia on voting behaviour and found that it was strongly related to voting in favour of Brexit.
Now the results of a new study into voting behaviours of people who voted for the UK to leave the European Union show a worrying trend, partly driven by narcissism, regardless of their level of education, age, or gender.
The research, published in Frontiers in Psychology, identified collective narcissism as being a new voting variable. British citizens who fear immigrants and thought they threatened their values and way of life were more likely to have voted in favour of the UK, leaving the EU.
Led by Dr Agnieszka Golec de Zavala, from Goldsmiths, University of London, the researchers then looked to establish what kind of people believe immigrants may threaten the UK.
The study showed three distinct groups: authoritarians, who fear other groups will threaten the status quo; people who compete for their group’s dominance over immigrants and collective narcissists; who believe the UK is entitled to privileged treatment but complain this ‘true importance and value’ is not recognised by other countries. Importantly, the research also found people who valued their British identity were not more likely to reject immigrants or vote for Brexit.
The study’s author said the research introduces collective narcissism as a new variable to consider when making predictions for political behaviour. She said “From Brexit, Trump and support for Vladimir Putin in Russia to the nationalist, ultra- conservative government in Poland, studies from our and other labs show that collective narcissism systematically predicts prejudice, aggression and a tendency to interpret innocent behaviours as provocation to the national group.
“Collective narcissism isn’t a good attitude and we need to study how this may become a group norm so that we can find ways of preventing it from happening and spreading. We should vet our leaders more carefully in this respect, because leaders have the power to make such attitudes normative in their groups.”
The researchers also have suggested that as the study was conducted after the referendum, it may be that the ‘yes’ vote increased xenophobia, which made them feel more empowered to express xenophobic attitudes.
Studies are there to give us an insight into things that can make our life better, us better. If you understand how and why Brexit happened, you will know it was brought about through politcal narcissism. It wasn’t an informed choice because it was a good idea. In fact the opposite is true.
The architect of the Brexit referendum was advised by the German Chancellor not to give the British People the vote. The rest is now assigned to the UK history books. If we can learn one thing from Brexit is that politician’s attitudes must change for the greater good, so that we may all come together.
Those responsible and instrumental for Brexit have lessons to learn. The question now is will those lessons be learned?