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Brexit and the Continental Fears of Maritime Britain

The Brexit debate in England is intricately linked to the demand for the reassertion of its maritime identity and glory that many consider to have been eroded by the success of its underwater connectivity with France. The British society is badly divided on the Brexit issue. The only group gaining through this induced polarisation of British society is the right-wing populist one, which is using maritime geography to project itself as the ultimate change agent, the angel of history, and an epitome of British insularity.

I  was outside the Palace of West­minster on 29 March 2019, the historic day on which the United Kingdom (UK) was originally scheduled to leave the European Union (EU). Thou­sands of pro-Brexit supporters (also known as Brexiteers) gathered to dem­and Brexit (an abbreviation for the term “British exit” from the EU). While Brexi­teers were shouting slogans outside the parliament, the parliamentarians were voting down, for the third time, the Withdrawal Agreement presented by Prime Minister Theresa May. Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage, the two top Brexiteers in Britain were also present at the rally to highlight the pusillanimity of the political class in implementing the “leave” verdict, which emerged after the referendum held on 23 June 2016.

he gathering of “leavers” who had planned to celebrate Britain’s final divorce with the EU on the momentous day felt betrayed by their elected representatives. In the absence of a consensus in the British parliament on the “deal”—the Withdrawal Agree­ment—the EU extended the Brexit date first to 12 April, and then finally by six months to 31 October 2019.

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Updated On : 26th Apr, 2019

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