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AbstractThis article argues that there are important connections between what is happening in Brexit and matters with which people in the Two Thirds World have long experience. It posits that a serious understanding of the roots of the Brexit crisis requires an analytical engagement with the cross-currents that swirl between the UK's global imperial and colonial inheritance and some of the key trends and issues arising from the highly varied, ambiguous, but also irresistible contemporary forces of globalisation resulting from what the British historian Arnold Toynbee called “the annihilation of distance”. ‘Brexit’ has shaken up political configurations and complacency about what English politicians for too long have tended to refer to in an unconsciously culturally and politically assimilationist way as “the nation” when, as a matter of both historical fact and contemporary reality, the present UK state is a specific configuration of nations within a single state that was created as part of an overall “internal” trajectory of a colonial and imperial enterprise that was rolled out into the wider world. If this analysis is accepted then it is not surprising that issues relating both to Scotland and to Northern Ireland have been playing a very big role in the present Brexit crisis. The published article is an abridged form of an unpublished longer paper on "Roots, Routes, and Times of Decision: Brexit, Populisms, Colonialism and Imperialism in Global Perspective", which is downloadable open access from https://pure.coventry.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/23840319/Roots_Routes_and_Times_of_Decision_long_form_article.pdf. Finally, the article argues that it is likely that those of us who live and work in the UK will need to call in aid against our temptation to despair, the analytical, spiritual and practical resources that sisters and brothers from the ‘Two Thirds world’ have developed over several centuries of understanding the destructive phenomena of colonialism and imperialism, and in identifying some possible ways to overcome them.
CitationWeller, P. (2019). 'Brexit: A colonial boomerang in a populist world'. Social Justice, 41(196), pp. 8-11.
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