The Roots of Brexit

1992, 2004, and European Union Expansion

The Union Jack and the European Union flag are seen flying in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain, June 27, 2016, after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU Brexit referendum. Jon Nazca / Reuters

In their quest for the Conservative leadership, two rival Eton schoolboys have managed to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union—the first by calling for a referendum in 2013 in order to consolidate his hold over the leadership, and the second by joining the leadership of the Vote Leave campaign in order to hasten his rival’s downfall. As Alex Salmond, the former leader of the Scottish National Party who knows a thing or two about referendums said, the point of a such a poll is to change things: it was daft of David Cameron to mount one when he planned to fight for the status quo. And it was cynical of Boris Johnson to use the opportunity for political gain. In this lamentable drama, both have much to answer for.

However, the two had help from many quarters, not least the halfhearted support for the Remain campaign

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