Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit
British Culture Wars? Brexit and the Future Politics of Immigration and Ethnic Diversity
We will discuss in turn the divides over immigration and over ethnic diversity, and how they may develop in post-Brexit Britain. We foresee that both will play a role, but while immigration has long been recognised as politically potent, the less often acknowledged conflicts over diversity loom just as large in the electorate and may come to take centre stage in future. Here, the parallel with the American ‘culture wars’, with their deep roots in racial divides, is clearer. The election of a first black President, which many saw as chance to move beyond racial division, instead inflamed it, as it intensified the sense of threat felt by ethnocentric white voters. There is a risk of similar dynamics playing out in Britain: while Brexit may help resolve some conflicts over immigration, the conflicts over it may also mobilise other polarising identity divisions.