Abstract

On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted by a 52 to 48 margin to leave the European Union. The result of the EU referendum was the latest and most dramatic expression of long-term social changes that have been silently reshaping public opinion, political behavior, and party competition in Britain and Western democracies. In this essay, we consider the underlying social and attitudinal shifts that made “Brexit” and the rise to prominence of the populist, right-wing U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) possible. Finally, we consider what these momentous developments reveal about the state of British politics and society.

Abstract

Abstract:

On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted by a 52 to 48 margin to leave the European Union. The result of the EU referendum was the latest and most dramatic expression of long-term social changes that have been silently reshaping public opinion, political behavior, and party competition in Britain and Western democracies. In this essay, we consider the underlying social and attitudinal shifts that made “Brexit” and the rise to prominence of the populist, right-wing U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) possible. Finally, we consider what these momentous developments reveal about the state of British politics and society.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3214
Print ISSN
1045-5736
Pages
pp. 17-30
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-10
Open Access
No
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