Britain, Europe and the Real Crisis
Date Written: 29/06/2016
Year Published: 2016
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX19608
The decision by British voters last week to leave the European Union has brutally exposed two features of contemporary British politics. The first is the depth of popular disaffection with mainstream political institutions. The second is the paralysis of the political class in the face of this disaffection.
The Brexit victory was buttressed by a coalition of disparate social groups. Traditional Conservative supporters in the shires and the suburbs have long been suspicious of the European project. Few were surprised that they voted in large numbers against EU membership. What shocked many politicians and pundits about the referendum result was the extent of hostility in traditional Labour Party heartlands, in the North of England, in the Midlands and in the Welsh valleys.