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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.

The result of the UK referendum on EU membership was an act of rejection of elite opinion. Almost the entirety of the country’s intellectual, economic and political establishment had explicitly opposed Brexit. There had been letters by Nobel laureates detailing the cost to UK research of a ‘Leave’ vote, a public statement by over 250 academics to the same affect, the official opposition of most British businesses as well as an avalanche of expert reports indicating the significant economic cost of leaving the world’s largest single market. In political terms, the ‘Remain’ campaign had the formal support of the country’s four …

An impressive list of academics, including seven Oxford faculty members, signed a petition in mid-June calling for new strategies to deal with misinformation. It makes very good sense to desire competent opinion as opposed to misinformation, and to argue that democratic legitimacy of the referendum’s outcome in some sense rests upon informed choice. (A specific example of a helpful intervention is this letter from the UK Statistics Authority challenging the “potentially misleading” statement of Nigel Farage about the “independence dividend” of Brexit.) These epistemic interventions need to be given more thought, but they all share the same classic problem: Who …

The British vote to leave the European Union (EU) is the first step toward formal disintegration that the West has experienced. The closest parallel is France’s decision to step outside the integrated military command structure of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1966. But France remained a member of NATO; that decision was more like Britain’s opt-out from the single currency or Schengen, even if the shift of NATO’s headquarters from Paris to Brussels made it seem more dramatic. By contrast, the British have now decided that they do not want to take part in the EU and that …

It is not hard to see why Leave won. Evidence from numerous opinion polls showed that there was a clear majority for Leave on the basis of concerns about immigration and beliefs that leaving would reduce immigration. Moreover the same opinion polls showed us that there was no compensating majority who believed that the UK would be worse off if we left. Still less did people feel that they personally would be financially worse off. For further details see here. Although it should not have come as a surprise that Leave won, the result was close enough that it could easily …

We have theories of integration but not of disintegration which is a problem, argues Jan Zielonka. In the early 1990s Europe experienced three great revolutions: geopolitical, economic and digital. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the single market project and the advent of the internet have changed Europe beyond recognition, but the EU has not properly adjusted to this dramatic change. Europe lost trust, imagination and sex appeal Subsequently it lost its sex appeal for both Europe’s citizens and external observers. For many decades the EU was as a model of successful integration: an efficient market with welfare protection for …

Referendum night is going to represent something of a departure from usual. There will not be the drama of an exit poll announcement to stir excitement – and possibly shock – at 10pm. Meanwhile, when the actual results do start to be announced, except in Northern Ireland they will not be declared by the parliamentary constituencies with which we have all become familiar. Rather they will be unveiled local authority by local authority. As a result, we will get just one declaration for the whole of Birmingham, while, at the other end of the spectrum, the Isles of Scilly will …