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Revisiting the cultural significance of the white cliffs of Dover
Melanie Küng

. In the build-up to the vote on the EU referendum, the white cliffs were far from symbolising togetherness and openness, standing instead overwhelmingly for divisiveness and inhospitality, since the Brexit debate has been riddled throughout with the question of immigration and border control. Examples of the tangible dimension this took in Dover over the last few years still resonate: in 2015, then UKIP leader Nigel Farage stood at the bottom of the cliffs when he unveiled his party’s new campaign poster. It showed three huge escalators, meant to represent the high

in The road to Brexit
Holly Jarman

negotiations was all too brief, however, as a wave of remorse caused Brexit Minister David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to resign from their positions. In July, the EU’s Chief Negotiator for the Brexit talks, Michel Barnier, thoroughly rejected the UK’s proposal, stating that ‘The EU cannot and the EU will not delegate the application of its customs policy and rules and VAT and excises duty collection to a non-member who would not be subject to the EU’s governance structures’ (BBC News  2018 ). This vignette illustrates the challenges that EU negotiators face

in The European Union after Brexit
Philippa Gregory’s narratives of national grievance
Siobhan O’Connor

, and in fictionalising real-life events and people, helps to shape the contemporary moment by offering continuities between past and present, which contributes to the nation’s view of itself. The Brexit era (by which I mean the ten years or so preceding the 2016 referendum) has seen the rise of a new discourse of Englishness that is distinct from the rest of the UK and from the European mainland. It is marked by resentment of the proximate other and aggrieved yearning for a feudal, pre-industrial past. England’s relationship with the continent has often been

in The road to Brexit
External shocks to peace settlements
Feargal Cochrane

No one saw Brexit coming. Certainly not David Cameron when he announced the in/out referendum for 23 June 2016, a prime minister who had seen off two previous referendums, on Scottish independence in 2014 and on electoral reform with the alternative vote referendum in 2011. Clearly Cameron was a man who knew how to hold and win referendums and while he called the in/out referendum on EU membership, he did so fully expecting that he would win it. There was a broader general complacency, perhaps derived from previous referendums, that incumbency

in Breaking peace
Brexit in historical perspective
Robert Holland

Exploring the nature of Brexit in historical perspective is inevitably like pinning down the proverbial butterfly. ‘Brexit means Brexit’, Theresa May famously declared early in her premiership, and although at the time this seemed to critics merely frustratingly elusive, much later it is surely rather reflective of an inherently ungraspable proposition, impossible to effect in any truly satisfactory fashion. Looking again at innumerable press clippings gathered during the three years that followed the June 2016 referendum, what above all strikes this

in The road to Brexit
A Gibraltarian writer’s personal testimonial on the road to Brexit
M.G. Sanchez

1 It was bound to happen sooner or later. I knew it from the moment I picked up the paper that July afternoon and saw the headline on the front cover. Revealed , it said. The shocking scale of racist hate since the Brexit vote . Henceforth I could sense it in the air, a hint of atmospheric turbulence, the sound of slow-beating wings approaching closer and closer. When the dark angel finally alighted before me, I was on the way to the local supermarket. Out of nowhere, a guy came up to me and quietly asked me if I could spare a cigarette. He was about six

in The road to Brexit
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Stanley R. Sloan

are surely less contemptuous of their European neighbors than they were when Italian journalist Luigi Barzini in 1983 colorfully characterized their view of the continentals. But are they? The 2016 referendum forcing the UK to begin negotiations to leave the European Union – a process known as “Brexit” – suggests that many Brits still see a wide cultural, political and economic channel between themselves and “the Europeans.” The 2016 referendum favoring by a close margin British departure from the European Union was a shock to British politics and to the European

in Transatlantic traumas
Klaus Stolz

-deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, called for an immediate referendum on Irish reunification. Since then, the twists and turns of the Brexit negotiation process have been keenly observed in both nations, with nationalists ready to capitalise on the conflicts of interest. The Brexit referendum and the reactions to it clearly show continental Europe to be inextricably intertwined with the internal British constitutional debate. In fact, while Brexit and Scottish independence are fairly recent issues, the general idea that Europe, the EU and the European integration

in The road to Brexit
Hardening positions during the referendum
Feargal Cochrane

seems ironic that Northern Ireland had a relatively low profile during the Brexit referendum campaign of 2015 and 2016. 2 This was certainly true in Britain, where it was subsumed under the white-hot debate over immigration and media-friendly slogans of the Leave campaign's assertions about ‘taking back control’ of the UK borders. Even in the Northern Ireland context Brexit was a relatively low-key issue, at least initially – which, given subsequent events, seems a little surprising

in Breaking peace
Donnacha Ó Beacháin

acquired portfolio on the understanding that he would retain it under Reynolds’s premiership and that he would contest the party leadership whenever Reynolds decided to step down.1 Neither man knew how brief Reynolds’s tenure as Taoiseach 218 From Partition to Brexit would be – little more than two years and nine months. However, during this time Reynolds would play a vital role in a series of major breakthroughs in Northern Ireland and in facilitating a peace process to take root. The new Taoiseach’s proclamation that, along with the economy, Northern Ireland was

in From Partition to Brexit