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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 8th July 2016 > BREXIT WOUNDS


The decision by British voters to leave the EU is unlikely to be the last anti-establishment uprising in the West


BRITAIN’S BREXIT VOTE was a victory of the old over the young, of the less educated over the educated, of nationalism over internationalism. No wonder the presumed U.S. Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump—who happened to be visiting one of his golf courses in Scotland when the result was announced on June 24—was delighted. Polls show that both Brexit voters and Trump’s grassroots supporters are motivated by a similar mix of fear and fantasy: a yearning to control immigration, reverse globalization and restore national greatness by disengaging from the wide, threatening world.

“People want to take their country back,” said Trump as news of the vote broke. “They want to have independence…all over Europe, they want to take their borders back.”

Trump is right: The Brexit vote is just the latest and clearest manifestation of the populism and nativism that’s uniting the have-nots of Europe and America against the political establishment. The first victim of this political primal scream from the disenfranchised is likely to be the United Kingdom itself. In the wake of the Brexit vote, Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced that a new referendum on independence was “highly likely” after Scottish voters resoundingly backed remaining in Europe. Sturgeon said she would not stand for Scotland “being taken out of the EU against its will.” Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, called for a vote on reuniting with the Republic of Ireland, calling it “the next logical step…for all of us who believe in the EU and want to remain part of Europe.”

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THE GREAT UNRAVELLING How the politics of paranoia is reshaping the world.