In the light of the dramatic news of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and David Cameron’s resignation, we release this special Centre podcast in which Prof. Richard Toye and Dr. David Thackeray reflect on its historic significance and the way ahead.
One thought on “CIGH podcast: referendum result special”
Two (imperfect) historical parallels come to mind
(1). Today, we hear that we have never come across a situation like Brexit before. Well, how about the loss of America in 1783? Britain and the colonies were socially, culturally and politically linked prior to the Revolution – but they continued to be so thereafter, admittedly in a modified form. Crucially, GB and America had close financial ties before and after the War of Independence. Despite the undoubted economic dislocation of c.1775-83, trans-Atlantic trade and finance continued, and prospered, thereafter. In 1783 there were lengthy treaty negotiations and fears of additional secession within other parts of the British Empire – but still the Empire remained intact. See work by H.V. Bowen,
(2). This morning, additional fears have been raised – a change in political leadership in both of the main parties, the prospect of another Scottish referendum. Indeed, it sounds a rather complicated picture. But doesn’t this sound like the reform crisis of the early nineteenth century too? Indeed, there was economic dislocation after the Napoleonic Wars, fears of Catholic Emancipation, fear over the rise of the middle class & industrialists, the death of Lord Liverpool, etc. But in the end, revolution was partially avoided by the 1832 Reform Act. Who knows what type of new social, economic and political settlement will emerge in the UK over the next few years? Another Great Reform Act?
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