Are There Any Meaningful Historical Analogies for Brexit?

There has been no shortage of historical events put forward to explain Britain’s current political crisis, but do any of them seriously inform debate?

The execution of Charles I, c.1649.

Simplistic analogies shed far more heat than light

Ali Ansari, Professor of Modern History, University of St Andrews

There are lessons to be learnt from our collective historical experience but what we are witnessing at the moment, in our febrile political atmosphere, is the reckless conscription of narratives to ideological purposes. This is not at all uncommon in many countries where history and politics remain unsettled and narratives are fiercely contested. But in Britain we have become used – some might say to the point of complacency – to a gentler politics and more settled history.

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