Brexit: A Colonial Boomerang in a Populist World

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    This article argues that there are important connections between what is happening in Brexit and matters with which people in the Two Thirds World have long experience. It posits that a serious understanding of the roots of the Brexit crisis requires an analytical engagement with the cross-currents that swirl between the UK's global imperial and colonial inheritance and some of the key trends and issues arising from the highly varied, ambiguous, but also irresistible contemporary forces of globalisation resulting from what the British historian Arnold Toynbee called “the annihilation of distance”.

    ‘Brexit’ has shaken up political configurations and complacency about what English politicians for too long have tended to refer to in an unconsciously culturally and politically assimilationist way as “the nation” when, as a matter of
    both historical fact and contemporary reality, the present UK state is a specific configuration of nations within a single state that was created as part of an overall “internal” trajectory of a colonial and imperial enterprise that was rolled out into the wider world. If this analysis is accepted then it is not surprising that issues relating both to Scotland and to Northern Ireland have been playing a very big role in the present Brexit crisis.

    Finally, the article argues that it is likely that those of us who live and work in the UK will need to call in aid against our temptation to despair, the analytical, spiritual and practical resources that sisters and brothers from the ‘Two Thirds world’ have developed over several centuries of understanding the destructive
    phenomena of colonialism and imperialism, and in identifying some possible ways to overcome them.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1
    Pages (from-to)8-11
    Number of pages4
    JournalSocial Justice
    Issue number196
    Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Article added as submitted is an original, longer version of the article eventually published in shorter format as P. Weller (2019),
    “Brexit: A Colonial Boomerang in a Populist World”, in Social Justice, 41, 196, March-April, pp. 8-11, and is made
    available here with permission of the publishers of Social Justice, the Centre for Society and Religion, Sri Lanka.

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in
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