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1 ONE Studying Brexit Introduction Brexit is the most important and controversial topic in modern British politics. It confronts the UK with a series of questions and debates about its identity, society, political economy, trade, security, international position, constitution, legal system, sovereignty, unity, party politics and the attitudes and values that define it. While questions and debates about these topics took place before the vote to leave the EU, the referendum’s debate and result have brought them together in a way that could make Brexit a

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A concise introduction
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Understanding Brexit provides a concise introduction to the past, present and future of one of the most important and controversial topics in modern British politics. Written for both those familiar with the topic and those new to it, the book sets out in a clear and accessible way many of the fundamentals for understanding why Britain voted to leave the European Union and what happens next.

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Polarization and Social Media Manipulation
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Dissecting 45 million tweets from the period that followed the Brexit referendum, this book presents an extensive analysis of social media manipulation.

The book examines emerging changes in partisan politics, nationalist and populist values, as well as broader societal changes that are feeding into polarization and echo-chamber communication. It pulls the curtain back on the techniques employed to interfere with, and potentially distort, the public discussion.

Making complex data accessible to non-technical audiences, this unique post-mortem of the Brexit referendum contributes to our understanding of social media disinformation in the UK and beyond.

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7 ONE Brexit nation Anthony Key’s work entitled Trespassing conveys the reality and fragility of borders in a visceral way. It evokes barbed-wire fences that cannot be crossed without being branded a trespasser, and thus a criminal. Figure 1.1: Anthony Key, Trespassing (2000) 8 REIMAGINING THE NATION Barbed wire in any form is visceral because it evokes danger and pain, reminding us that feelings are central to building borders between ‘us’ and ‘them’. The analogy with state borders and illegal immigrants is clear to see. Yet, by making the barbed wire out

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A vocal Corbynista MP declared, “New Labour, in my opinion, are responsible for the country voting Brexit, because we lacked an industrial strategy, meaning the communities that were decimated and abandoned by Thatcher and Major’s policy continued to be abandoned”. This MP pulled no punches, firmly laying the majority leave vote at New Labour’s door. The left believed that New Labour’s failure to economically regenerate these areas post-Thatcher combined with its warm embrace of globalization, immigration and its role in the 2008 financial crisis (precipitating

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133 SIX Europe and Brexit Introduction This chapter looks at the second set of negotiations and processes outlined at the end of Chapter Four, which are taking place at the European level. They are summarised below in Table 6.1. They can be divided into two groups: those between the UK and the EU, and those within the remaining EU. UK–EU negotiators need to reach agreement over three deals: an exit deal, a deal over a transition arrangement, and a new post-Brexit EU–UK relationship. This chapter examines what options exist for each and sets out what the

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The need to think conjuncturally is nowhere better demonstrated than in the moment of Brexit. Accounting for Brexit has tended to take simplifying forms, ranging from a focus on manoeuvring within the Conservative Party to the grand global explanations centred on neoliberal capitalism. In this chapter I explore three ways of locating and explaining Brexit as exemplifications of the problems of focusing on one dynamic. I address explanations that treat Brexit as one example of a wider global rise of populist politics, explanations that centre on the disruptive

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Chapter highlights 1. In 2016, the ‘ Brexit ’ campaign drew on the Westminster story to describe ‘taking back control’ of UK policy and policy making. In 2020, the UK left the EU. 2. The complex government story suggests that UK ministers have limited knowledge and control over policy processes. The Brexit process exposed those limitations, and changed only one of many drivers of fragmented and multi-level policy making. 3. Brexit created confusion about the new responsibilities of devolved governments, and amplified demands for a second referendum on

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Diego: They [English colleagues] talked a lot about [Brexit], most of them supported it precisely because they didn’t want foreigners, I mean [pause] not with me though, I don’t know, is not like they told me “well, Italians”, it was more towards [pause] I don’t know, because some [pause] probably some [migrants] take advantage of it, bring their children here, all their family, so they take benefits without having worked and paid taxes, but I don’t think they were talking about me, because I’m not here stealing anything, but yes, that’s how they saw it

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Introduction Britain in a time of Brexit is a ‘hotbed’ of populist politics. Traditional party-political cleavages and the familiar spectrum of public debate have given way to a cross-party focus on the narrow issues of immigration, border control and sovereignty. Political opinion in England and Wales now shows increasing scepticism towards globalization and multiculturalism and a rise in nationalist and even xenophobic sentiment. Where Eurosceptics long sat on the political side lines, there is now a conscious sharing of Eurosceptic ideas by the main

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