First Response: Brexit Wasn’t Built in a Day

For this week, the readings focused on Brexit. More specifically, it focused on whether Brexit is a phenomenon with its root causes stretching back into the 20th century, if it is a more recent phenomenon, or if it has both current and historical roots.

To answer this question, we must first know what Brexit was about. Why did people vote to leave the EU? The readings generally agree that it was due to the populations feeling that they have been left behind by the economy and their negative feeling towards immigration and immigrants. Likewise, these feeling can be traced back to the 1960s when Enoch Powell made his famous Rivers of Blood speech. In it, he quoted a constituent who suggest that it is not long until the white English man no longer has the power in England. Immigrants would have replaced them.

The second reason would be the economic and regulatory issues that some believe the UK faced when in the EU, which can be traced back to the same year that the UK joined the EEC which would become the EU.

While reading the articles I kept asking myself, why did these feelings stay controlled for so long? In other words, why did it take about 50 years for anti-immigration sentiment to push the UK out of the EU? What was unique about the cultural and political situation in 2015? The articles address these parts but I do not feel that the Eurozone collapse could have been enough to push these to the surface. Hopefully, we can tease out the short term causes more in class.

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