Archbishop of Canterbury warns of ‘xenophobia and self-pity’ in post-Brexit Britain

Posted On: 
25th February 2018

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned the UK could be dominated by “xenophobia and self-pity” after Britain leaves the EU.

Justin Welby warned Britain was going down a dangerous path of self-interest with Brexit.

Justin Welby, who voted Remain, said the UK is in danger of becoming “a rootless and self-protective society without generosity, arising from a lack of confidence”.

In his book, Reimagining Britain, due to be published this week, he blamed the 2008 crash for the Brexit vote, claiming it had “a profound effect” from which the UK was yet to recover.

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“The financial crisis and associated great recession of 2008 had a profound effect on the UK from which it has yet to recover. The psychological effects are even greater," he wrote.

The senior clergyman also warned Brexit was the biggest crisis the nation had faced since World War Two.

“The cracks in our society have begun to show, expressed in hate crime, in the growth of intolerance and above all in inward-turning.

“It will make the next couple of decades or more a period of reimagination on the scale of post-1945 or in the mid-19th century rather than simply an adjustment as in the 1970s and 1980s.

“The task of reimagining is far more complicated than after 1945 and the result will be a process lasting not for a few years but generations.”

He also set out fears that EU officials would make Brexit worse as the bloc had lost its “Christian-drive narrative” and replaced it with “crude materialism”.

“The expansion of the EU has led to a loss of its own, also very often Christian-driven narrative," he claimed. 

“The stories of war have faded as has the sense of escape from the totalitarian regimes of the pre-1989 Soviet bloc.

“The centrality of Franco-German reconciliation has been displaced by an often crude materialism.”