Tales of Brexits Past and Present: Understanding the Choices, Threats and Opportunities in Our Separation From the EU

Nigel Culkin, Richard Simmons

Research output: Book/ReportBook

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Brexit, which for some is a rebellion against globalism, European and domestic political orders and the establishment, is equally, for many a desire for a return to a world of certainties; whilst for others it’s an expression of hope hope for improvement with a leap into an unknown future. Both sentiments convey a feeling that something in society is broken and needs fixing, a feeling that has grown significantly since the 2008 Financial Crisis.

Today’s society is fluid in how groups both form and dissolve. Social and broadcast media, advertising and many other influences lead to rapid formation and dissolution of social groups. Equally in the Brexit context, both groups - Leave and Remain - feel their group and therefore their nation will “win” if their policies are followed. Leavers were told it is possible to leave without a cost but with significant longer-term rewards; and, Remainer’s were told, Leave will come with substantial costs and few, if any rewards.

This book is about teasing out the strategies and actions that deliver hopes for economic improvements, realise sustainable social balance and where possible avoid either social or disruption costs. The implicit assumption in this approach is that “Take Control” should not mean “Create Chaos”. In doing this we draw upon three underlying threads.

First is the need to understand why people who voted “Leave” did so; the juxtaposition of which is what do they want to change to make their lives better? Second, we look to unpack experiences from the past and see what we can learn from the successes, failures, strategies and choices made in previous historical Brexit’s and thirdly we pose the question what must change if Leave aspirations are to be realised? In the third part our comments are not restricted to Brexit, but rather look at how the UK can build a competitive edge in today’s unstable world.

How Insights From The Past Can Help Us Today
This is not the first time in history this split from Europe has happened. There have been previous Brexits, for example the end of Roman Britain, the Henrician Reformation and the Elizabethan Settlement. If we look at the ruptures following the break with Rome in the 1530’s we see sharp divides between Catholics and Protestants, some of which persist. With such current division, what then can we learn from these previous Brexits?
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHoward House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK
PublisherEmerald Publishing
Number of pages272
ISBN (Electronic)9781787694378, 9781787694354
ISBN (Print)9781787694385
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2018
EventInterview on BBC Radio World Service: Interview on Tales of Brexit Past & Present - BBC HQ, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Jan 201927 Jan 2019


  • Brexit
  • History
  • EU external engagement
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurial Innovators
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurial Universities


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