Tensions about the rights of native and foreign-born workers in Britain, and attempts to deal with them, are not new but have been the subject of public debate for centuries. Even during the later Middle Ages, the influx of alien workers and its implications for the employment of English-born people was high on the agenda, provoking political crises and prompting the central government to issue new legislation.
Petitions are an ancient type of interaction between people and authority that continue to be central to British political culture in the twenty-first century. At the time of writing over 6 million names have been attached to an e-petition to Parliament to revoke article 50 to enable the UK to remain in the EU. Richard Huzzey and Henry Miller look at how the modern form of mass petitions emerged in the nineteenth century to compare them with contemporary e-petitions.
Rachel Carson’s controversial book, Silent Spring, published in 1962, can help us understand the Brexit pesticide debate.
Britain’s Brexit shambles owes much to historical mythologies about Britain’s role in the Second World War, shaped by imperial legacies. Robert Knight explores Joe Wright’s much praised film Darkest Hour as a prominent recent example, hailed as ‘superb Brexit propaganda’.
What does it mean to live in a world with borders? Historian Becky Taylor reflects on the history of border controls.
As popular ideas of British empire become a battleground in Brexit Britain, Charlotte Lydia Riley examines the emergence of imperial history wars
Eva Johanna Holmberg – a historian who studies travellers crossing borders in the seventeenth century – on being threatened with deportation as a European academic in the UK in 2017
Kevin Featherstone on academic freedom and the ‘McCarthyite’ character of a Tory MP’s letter asking for the names of university lecturers teaching about Brexit.
Gareth Stedman Jones reflects on the history of referenda, and the ways they can be used to bring about unconstitutional or unscrupulous changes in government.
How can the Freudian tradition of mass psychology help us understand use of the term “populism”?