Long read | What is going on with economic expertise?

12 Dec

What is going on with economic expertise? Why is it that it is constantly depicted as simply based on opinion rather than facts, ask Marina Della Giusta, Sylvia Jaworska, Danica Vukadinović-Greetham and Anna De Liddo? In this blog, they present their research which uses network and language analysis to explore the audience and the style of … Continued

A missed opportunity? Revisiting the euro referendum that never was from a historical perspective

3 Dec

In 1997 all the main parties promised a referendum on whether Britain should join the euro, but eventually Labour ruled out membership. Anti-euro campaigners went on to hone their arguments in the 2016 referendum. Stuart Smedley (King’s College London) suggests that this may have been a missed opportunity for the government to tackle Eurosceptic narratives. … Continued

The three mistakes the Brexit Party have made in this General Election campaign

28 Nov

They were winners in the European parliamentary elections, but now the Brexit Party is struggling. Callum Tindall (University of Nottingham) identifies Nigel Farage’s missteps. After the Brexit Party’s victory in the European parliamentary elections in May 2019, it would have hoped to sustain its success. But many things have changed in British politics since. After … Continued

What difference are the Unite to Remain and Brexit Party pacts likely to make?

18 Nov

The Unite to Remain alliance means the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens are trying to pool their votes to ensure a Remain-backing candidate is elected. But the Brexit Party’s decision to stand down their candidates in Tory-held seats makes this tougher. Heinz Brandenburg (University of Strathclyde) concludes that the overall effect of these pacts will be minimal. Now […]

We need to talk about A/B testing: Brexit, attack ads and the election campaign

13 Nov

With the general election a month away, how are the parties targeting voters on Facebook with messages about Brexit? Tristan Hotham (University of Bath) explains how A/B testing is being used to identify the most effective campaign themes. Political parties using Facebook ads have a powerful capacity to hone their messages. Unlike in the past – where expensive and hard-to-organise […]

Remain or Leave, people should be able to vote for the party they want to see win

12 Nov

We should be scrutinising candidates and policies. Instead the talk is of tactical voting and electoral pacts. Brexit has thrown the deficiencies of our voting system into sharp relief, but this must be the last general election fought under first past the post, writes Ian Simpson (Electoral Reform Society). Introducing the single transferable vote would mean voters would feel free […]

Beyond no deal: what else does the Brexit Party want?

6 Nov

Apart from a no-deal Brexit, what does the Brexit Party want? Callum Tindall (University of Nottingham) analyses its monthly newsletter to find clues about the party’s policies and ideology. At next month’s general election, the Brexit Party (BP) embarks upon its first venture into national politics. Less than a year old, with successful European parliamentary elections under their belt, they […]

Would a more educated population have rejected Brexit?

4 Nov

Only a quarter of Britons with a university degree voted Leave, which has led many to conclude that education makes people less Eurosceptic. Sander Kunst (University of Amsterdam) tested this theory and found that the association is not simple. A small majority of 51.9% voted to Leave the EU. Recent studies show that education level was one of the most […]

Long read: the makings of Brexit and the road ahead

23 Oct

On the cusp of the UK’s exit from the EU, Philip Rycroft (Bennett Institute, University of Cambridge) reflects on his seven years at the centre of the UK government to ask how we reached this point in the country’s history. In a lecture delivered on 3 October 2019 in Cambridge, he examines the underlying causes of Brexit and the political […]

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

24 Sep

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

10 Sep

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. If a no-deal Brexit is averted, Britain nonetheless faces the prospect of a general election going ahead without electoral law reform. As Boris Johnson goaded the Leader of […]

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

9 Sep

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 potential […]

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

6 Sep

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 […]

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

2 Sep

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 increasing […]

Understanding Boris Johnson’s ‘retropian’ appeal to Conservatives

13 Aug

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 […]

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

29 Jul

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 […]