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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.

As the Bremain and Brexit campaigns gear up for the last three days of campaigning, the outcome remains far from clear. Recent polls show the vote tied at 50/50. Both sides of the argument have heralded the referendum as a “unique event”. Unique as it may be for this generation of UK citizens, referenda of this kind are not singular. In fact, the UK’s referendum on EU membership, to be held on 23 June, shares a number of remarkable parallels with Spain’s in-out NATO referendum, held thirty years earlier on 12 March 1986. Let’s review the similarities one-by-one. The “question”: …

Is it possible to have a more accurate prediction by asking people how confident they are that their preferred choice will win the day? As the Brexit referendum date approaches, the uncertainty regarding its outcome is increasing. And, so are concerns about the precision of the polls. The forecasts are, once again, suggesting a very close result. Ever since the general election of May 2015, criticism against pollsters has been rampant. They have been accused of complacency, herding, of making sampling errors, and even of deliberate manipulation of their results. The UK is hardly the only country where pollsters are …
Photo credit: Number 10 (Flickr:CC BY-NC 2.0)

The consequences of the Brexit referendum are bad for both Europe and Britain, regardless of the result. The EU referendum in the United Kingdom was intended as a festival of democracy, but it has proved to be an exercise in political madness. Brits pride themselves on being sensible and pragmatic people, but they embarked on a sentimental journey into the unknown. Rational arguments are being set aside while populists are having a party. The prospect of a referendum with an uncertain result has already caused a great deal of disarray, and those who count the costs of a possible Brexit …

The Queen’s speech announced a new Digital Economy Bill. One of the main measures is to mandate a minimum broadband speed of 24Mbps for at least 95 per cent of UK homes and universal service obligation minimum of 2Mbps. It is proposed that funding for this will come from an industry levy. Any broadband subsidy under the BDUK programme is subject to EU state aid rules particularly if disputed by the private sector (as previously) or could be challenged under WTO countervailing measures in the future if Brexit occurs and the UK does not participate in the Single Market. The …

I was around ten-years-old when my family found itself in a difficult economic situation. I had to go to work to help earn cash. One day, as I was carrying some heavy items, a father and his son were passing by, both clearly of some means. Glancing at me the father addressed his son with more or less these words: “Listen to what I’m saying. If you don’t study, you’ll end up like him.” I felt awful that the father was using my difficult situation to scare his own son. Besides, it was inaccurate. He assumed that I was poor …

‘I will be voting to leave the European Union’. It is a sentence which almost always attracts gasps of horror from my fellow students and dons in Oxford, one of the most pro-EU cities in Britain. But, polls show that at least 40% of the British public, many of whom voted Labour in the last general election, agree with me. My decision to vote ‘Leave’ is based on my belief in democracy, socialism, and a political economy which protects the living standards of the British working class. As a Labour member since I was eighteen, I will be voting to …