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On 23rd January 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron made a speech that set out his vision for a renewed partnership between Britain and the European Union. Apart from a call for repatriating certain powers, the Prime Minister promised the British people an in-or-out referendum in 2017 should his party win the 2015 general election. Now, after the Conservative Party’s surprisingly won an absolute majority in the May ballot, Mr Cameron decided to fast track the referendum, to be held as soon as 23rd June 2016.

The referendum process raised many important questions for the United Kingdom. Will David Cameron be able to negotiate a “New Deal” for his country before June 2016? How will his diplomacy affect Britain’s relationship with its European partners? Is a referendum of this kind democratic? And, what would a British exit from the EU—a “Brexit”—look like? Over the past year, the Oxford University Politics Blog has published a number of expert contributions that engage with these issues.

Now that the UK has voted to leave, the series will focus on the consequences of Brexit, the exit negotiations, and the changing relationship between Britain and the EU.

Cross-posted from the Princeton University Press blog. The authors of Political Turbulence discuss how the explosive rise, non-normal distribution and lack of organization that characterizes contemporary politics as a chaotic system, can explain why many political mobilizations of our times seem to come from nowhere. On 23rd June 2016, a majority of the British public voted in a referendum on whether to leave the European Union. The Leave or so-called #Brexit option was victorious, with a margin of 52 per cent to 48 per cent across the country, although Scotland, Northern Ireland, London and some towns voted to remain. The result was a shock to both leave and …

The optimum way for the United Kingdom to exit the European Union is by leading a reform of the European Economic Area (EEA). Could this deliver what the Leave voters want? If it could, why would the other 27 EU members ever agree to it? I argue that it could and they may. This outcome is by no means certain and, as in any negotiation, we need a second-best alternative in reserve, but we can only achieve the optimum answer by setting out now to get it. Win-win-win Prime Minister Theresa May has been very clear about adhering to 52% …

Europe’s newspapers were overwhelmingly negative towards Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, according to a review of the press in thirteen countries in the week after the referendum. Most articles presented the view that Brexit was bad for the EU, would damage their own nation’s interests and would also be bad for Britain. Of the articles that discussed the possibility of following Britain out of the EU, the majority concluded it would not be in their country’s interest to do so. A strong theme was that Brexit highlighted problems within the EU. However the majority view, across all political opinions, …

The BBC published maps of the Remain and Leave votes on 23 June. The Remain map tells us lots of fascinating things, but this post will focus on the Celtic fringe and the historical context for why people may have voted the way they did. Most of Wales is like most of England, with the metropolitan city (Cardiff) voting Remain and the rest of the country mostly for Leave. Note, however, that there is a little dark (pro-Remain) strip in the north and west. The patterns of settlement laid down centuries ago by the English conquest of Wales still leave …

The vote to leave the EU was an outcome which surprised most commentators, bookies, and even those who voted for the winning side. In the aftermath of the result, John Gray, a popular political theorist, wrote that ‘voters inflicted the biggest shock on the establishment since Churchill was ousted in 1945’. It is hard to think that he is wrong. The only social classes which predominately voted Remain were ABs (affluent and middle-class voters), whereas C1 C2 DE (lower middle-class and working-class) voters all delivered majorities for Leave. As I predicted on this blog in January and contrary to many …

In the spasms of defeat following the EU referendum, some Remain commentators have suggested that Brexit was a fundamentally racist choice. Indeed, one of the most forceful was Richard Elliot’s assertion on this blog that Brexit supporters are ‘the Cecil Rhodes of the twenty-first century’. Elliot’s article reflects the stifling academic consensus which cannot even comprehend how ‘good people’ could vote to Leave. This breathtakingly simplistic analysis amounts to little more than the assertion that clever, open-minded people voted to Remain whereas stupid, backward people voted to Leave. It echoes the debate over joining the Euro fifteen years ago when, …