ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Europe after Britain's Departure

Community to Nation State

Britain's vote to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016 will no doubt form the subject of books, doctoral theses and articles for years to come. Like 9/11 which witnessed planes crashing into the World Trade Centre in the US, the dropping of bombs on 6 August 1945 on Japan, and even the storming of the Bastille by the French on 14 July 1789, the day the British made this historical decision is a richly symbolic date.

It is difficult to understand a historical event in its entirety.

Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) has multiple causes and many consequences. Gender, sex, race and immigration, economic welfare, globalisation, and something as elusive as national pride all went into the exit vote. Geographically, the exit votes came largely from north England, the rust belt as the Americans call it, where all old industries (steel, forging, shipyards, etc) are located and where people feared loss of jobs to the immigrants besides not experiencing much benefit from Britain’s association with the EU. The south, southwest and London City all voted remain. This part of the country lives on services, banking and finance and is well integrated into the EU economy. The young, especially those between the ages of 18 and 24, solidly voted remain as did the Scots and Irish from Ulster. The leave voters were predominantly over 65 years old.

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