Whatever the eventual outcome of Britain’s negotiations to leave the European Union, the critical questions remain: what does the Referendum vote tell us about British society? As with the election of Donald Trump in the United States, why did so few people in Britain see the result coming? Why was there such a fundamental misunderstanding about divisions in society that had existed for years? In this short but powerful book, Stephen Green argues that it is time to acknowledge that underlying all the sound and fury of the Brexit debate were fundamental questions—whether or not fully recognized—about British identity. Are the British different, special, and capable of finding their own way in the world? Who are they, those who call themselves British? Is it all too easy to blame Brexit on post-industrial decline in the traditional heartlands of the Labor Party, or scaremongering by a band of deluded “Little Englanders”? Or is British identity more complex, deep-rooted—and perhaps, in some sense, troubling—than those of other European nations?
About the Author
Stephen Green campaigned for a Remain vote on 23 June in the UK’s Referendum on membership of the European Union. He now chairs London’s Natural History Museum and holds the same position at Asia House, a center of expertise on Asia. An ordained priest in the Church of England, he sits as a Conservative peer in the House of Lords, Britain’s second chamber.
Table of Contents
The shock and its aftermath The British in the mirror: what have we become? Brexit and Global Britain? The history that weighs on Britain Unforeseen consequences The ties that bind us The mirror crack’d? A mature identity for Global Britain?