Leave campaign

How little we know: reflections on our ignorance of the EU

Both Leavers and Remainers are almost equally ignorant about the workings of the EU. Dorothy Bishop (University of Oxford) looks at research into how cognitive biases influence people’s opinions of the Union, and questions whether, given how little voters knew, the referendum was valid.

As a Remainer, I am baffled as to what Brexiteers want. If you ask them, as […]

Why we need a Democracy Protection Act before the general election

With a general election imminent, Ewan McGaughey (King’s College London) argues that a new law is urgently needed to stop the poll being swung by stolen data, foreign donations and Russian interference.

Young people and Brexit: the implications for the far-right and Scottish independence

Since the EU referendum, the narrative of an inter-generational divide has emerged, with the country’s older pro-Leave generation thought to be at odds with a younger, pro-Remain generation. Rakib Ehsan (Henry Jackson Society) investigated these intra-generational differences and suggests that failure to deliver Brexit may provide a boost for far-right organisations, but that a disruptive no-deal Brexit has the […]

Categories, stereotypes, and political identities: the use of Brexiter and Remainer in online comments

Joanne Meredith (University of Wolverhampton) and Emma Richardson (University of Leicester) examine how the terms Brexiter and Remainer were used by online commenters during and after the referendum. They find that the two are seen as political categories in their own right, and the commenters resisted other, well-defined political identities, such as Conservative or Labour supporters.
Commentary around Brexit highlighted political and social […]

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    Avoiding a Brexit ‘Windrush on steroids’ for EU nationals in the UK

Avoiding a Brexit ‘Windrush on steroids’ for EU nationals in the UK

Whether the UK will get out of the EU with or without a deal, one thing is certain for EU citizens already residing in the UK; they will need to successfully apply for the ‘EU Settlement Scheme’ in order to be able to stay in the country and retain similar rights to what they hold now. However, there is […]

Understanding Boris Johnson’s ‘retrotopian’ appeal to Conservatives

The election of Boris Johnson once again highlights the salience of nostalgia to the Brexit debate. This is more than a throwaway attack line, writes Paul David Beaumont (Norwegian University of Life Sciences). Drawing upon social psychology can provide the theoretical basis for why and how Johnson’s “retrotopian” rhetoric appeals to old, wealthy, and nationalist Brexiteers.

The election of Boris […]

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    Brexit behaviourally: which do you think is the bigger figure – £350m a week or £4,300 per household per year?

Brexit behaviourally: which do you think is the bigger figure – £350m a week or £4,300 per household per year?

The Leave campaign’s ‘£350m a week’ figure cut through to voters in the 2016 referendum, while the Treasury’s ‘£4,300 per household per year’ didn’t. Was the relationship between the two figures intuitively self-evident? One is six times bigger than the other. Tessa Buchanan (University College London) looks at some of the behavioural lessons that can be learned from the campaign.

Psychologist Daniel […]

‘We’re better off out’: Nigel Farage, the chicken farm and the emotional resonance of the Leave campaign

Nigel Farage set the tone for a great deal of the press coverage of the EU referendum. Discourses of Brexit, a new collection edited by Veronika Koller (Lancaster University), Susanne Kopf (Wirtschaftuniversität Wien) and Marlene Miglbauer (Pädagogische Hochschule Burgenland), looks at the different discourses used by the Leave and Remain campaigns. In this extract from the book’s introduction, they offer […]

Existential anxiety: how Leave and Remain became badges of self-identity

The division of British society into Leavers and Remainers has been one of the most disturbing aspects of Brexit discourse. Christopher Browning (University of Warwick) looks at how these identities have emerged from the deep and destabilising anxieties that the vote, and its aftermath, triggered.
Whether one is for or against (some form of) Brexit, it is evident that on all sides […]

Leavers have a better understanding of Remainers’ motivations than vice versa

Why did people really vote to Leave or Remain? Noah Carl (Centre for Social Investigation) examines four different polls, and finds that immigration and sovereignty headed Leavers’ reasons – contrary to suggestions that the vote was intended to ‘teach politicians a lesson’. Leavers also proved better at characterising Remainers’ reasons than vice versa – something which may be linked to progressives’ greater […]