Britain will decide on Thursday whether to leave the European Union, and voters are deeply split. Last Wednesday, in what Britons took to calling the Battle of the Thames, both sides sent flag-waving flotillas down the river to advertise their cause. The next day, a man fatally shot and stabbed a member of Parliament, Jo Cox, who supported staying in the The times brexit Union. This is much more than a vote on membership in a 28-nation bloc.
It is about national and social identity, Britain’s place in the world and the future of the European project. Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? Boats campaigning to exit the European Union sailed by the British Parliament during the Battle of the Thames last week. The debate leading up to this week’s vote is playing out, however, as a broader choice over what national values to prioritize.
Pro-Brexit advocates have framed leaving the European Union as necessary to protect, or perhaps restore, the country’s identity: its culture, independence and place in the world. This argument is often expressed by opposition to immigration. British economy and that concerns about migration and other issues are not important enough to outweigh the economic consequences of leaving. The debate has also cut along the country’s famously deep class divides: Voters with less money and education are more likely to support leaving the union.
Robert Tombs, a historian at the University of Cambridge, said this stems from a sense of abandonment among poor and working-class Britons. Neither side is defending the European Union as a meaningful or admirable institution. In part, this speaks to particularly British views that the rest of Europe is somehow alien. This also reflects a Euroskepticism, or opposition to the European Union, rising across the bloc as the union veers from crisis to crisis. What is the case for leaving?
These stories usually feature some aspect of classically British culture that is supposedly under threat. One claimed that double-decker buses were to be banned, while another suggested that fish and chips would have to be written in Latin on menus. Brian Klaas, a fellow in comparative politics at the London School of Economics. One is the cultural nostalgia for Britain’s lost place in the world. This idea that Britain used to matter, Britain used to be able to do things without having to consult Brussels.
Labor migration, particularly from Eastern Europe, has often been painted as economically threatening. Britain has lost something, that it has lost its sovereignty. It can’t have the economic policies it chooses. What is the case for staying? Rather than defending the European Union or immigration as good for Britain, the campaign warns that leaving would be disastrous for the British economy. Supporters of remaining in the union on the Westminster Bridge as a flotilla of boats campaigning to exit sailed up the Thames in London last week.
Most economists agree with that claim. Europe is Britain’s most important export market and its greatest source of foreign direct investment, and union membership has been crucial to establishing London as a global financial center. But it is telling that those who want to stay, including Prime Minister David Cameron and the leadership of Britain’s two main political parties, have not expressed much enthusiasm for the European Union itself. Instead, their arguments are focused narrowly on British self-interest. Their message is not that membership in the bloc is an exciting opportunity so much as a basic economic necessity. That is a sign of how unpopular the union has become throughout Britain, according Mr.