Some Poles living in the UK after Brexit will decide to return to their homeland. Many believe the declarations of the ruling Law and Justice Party that life in Poland has become better. Poland was able to cope with the arrival of 1.5 million Ukrainians fleeing war, poverty and the draft in recent years, and is anticipating the arrival of Poles returning from the UK. However, the prodigal Poles may not stay long: most likely, after arriving home, the returnees will decide to return to the UK or move to a third country.
A well-known Polish analyst and journalist, who lives and teaches in Scotland, Konrad Renkas spoke to Sputnik about this.
Sputnik: In the last few weeks in Warsaw and in general in Poland, the country celebrated 20 years in NATO. I read in one newspaper that the possibility of Poland leaving NATO is the same as UK leaving the European Union — almost impossible. Do you think the UK will leave the EU or not?
Firstly, the Brexit example clearly shows how distant the views, interests and expectations of society in countries with long-established democracies (such as the United Kingdom) are from the interests, expectations, needs and goals of the ruling circles of these states.
British society clearly voted in favour of Brexit; in any case, the British part of the United Kingdom. But the British elite, led by Theresa May, until the last moment was confident that the referendum would be won by the supporters of the country's membership in the European Union. These differences between the elite and British society loom very clearly.
The British elite: MPs, the government — they try to carry out Brexit in such a way that it is either Brexit without its inevitable consequences, or the UK remains with most of its membership duties, which provides, for example, the openness of the British market for duty-free trade and the availability of its fishing waters.
Westminster, the official circles of London, are trying all the time to blur Brexit or to make it disappear. That is, we are dealing with the isolation of the ruling elite in practice. The elite says: Good, you voted for Brexit, but you don't really want it, do you? Here, we will arrange this for you.
Brexit opponents, for their part, want a new referendum.
The question remains unanswered, what did the British vote for, and why did they express their will in a referendum if it turns out that everyone is saying: no, no, you made a bad choice, maybe we will vote again?
It should be recognised that everyone is going in different directions, but the British cat is still in the doorway.
Sputnik: Will a 'hard Brexit take place or not?
Konrad Renkas: A lot is pointing to this. In this situation, the British and European governing circles have a few more moves left, a few surprises for British society. We know that the opponents of Brexit, the opponents of the deal, still believe that it offers an insufficient solution. Implacable supporters do not support it. A vote was taken on the no-deal Brexit, and then on further negotiations with the EU.
It is said that there can be no new negotiations or agreements between London and Brussels. This desire is to tire out the British society, so that in the end it says: finally do something, don't just hover in one place.
Brexit helps to strengthen the self-identification of the English part of the country — the English, not the British. An interesting paradox in this situation is the fact that after so many centuries, the English national identity is being awakened, being revived — but by no means the British one.
This is where many factors, domestic, social, economic, and ethnic, come into play, since the UK is not ethnically homogeneous. A muddy game on the part of the British negotiators and the British government is also added to this, which can lead to many surprises not only in connection with Britain's exit from the European Union, but also whether Britain itself will survive at all.
Sputnik: What is the public mood like? Considering the fact that there are many Poles living in Scotland.
Konrad Renkas: It is true that the biggest Polish diaspora is currently concentrated in the UK, even bigger than in Germany.
The diversity in the views of the Poles is quite interesting: some are really thinking about returning home, that is influenced by a number of factors. This is worsening, to a certain extent, of the well-being of the Poles, especially those living in the south of England, where they come in contact (they deal) with migrants from the Middle East and where they often face negative attitudes from the local population, the British, and migrants in general.
Those Poles who have been living in the British Isles for ten years or more have bigger ambitions, especially those who have a higher education and better jobs. So they start to expect, like the middle class would, more respect for themselves and greater opportunities for self-realisation, which is not always possible, especially in England.
There is, however, a completely different aspect of the attitude of the Polish diaspora towards Brexit: the Poles are wondering if, staying in the British Isles, is it possible to start a new business here? For example, what will the real estate prices look like after Brexit, what will the pound be worth?
Many Poles are buying property, investing in new homes, and in their life in the British Isles, especially in Scotland or Northern Ireland, where the conditions for the Poles are much better than in England, and the attitude of the local community is more adequate.
Many would like to move from the south to Scotland or Northern Ireland, where, basically, there are no migrants from third world countries and where the conditions for the Poles are much more favourable.
It's an interesting dichotomy: some are returning under the influence of the propaganda coming from Warsaw, because if in Poland the situation has improved so much that it is able to accommodate 1.5 million Ukrainians, then it might be able to guarantee the subsistence of those who return from the West?
I am afraid, however, that they will face bitter disappointment: we know that those who've returned home usually go back.
The Poles, who after ten years of living in Britain return to Poland, are already disappointed after 3-4-5 months, after being confronted with the Polish reality, and go back to the British Isles.
The rest just wait for what will happen next, with that demonstrating Polish ingenuity: maybe one can make some money on Brexit? This is the usual stance of our compatriots, which shows that we don't simply complain, but also cleverly adapt and even take advantage of any situation.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.