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Book description

Long-term social and demographic changes - and the conflicts they create - continue to transform British politics. In this accessible and authoritative book Sobolewska and Ford show how deep the roots of this polarisation and volatility run, drawing out decades of educational expansion and rising ethnic diversity as key drivers in the emergence of new divides within the British electorate over immigration, identity and diversity. They argue that choices made by political parties from the New Labour era onwards have mobilised these divisions into politics, first through conflicts over immigration, then through conflicts over the European Union, culminating in the 2016 EU referendum. Providing a comprehensive and far-reaching view of a country in turmoil, Brexitland explains how and why this happened, for students, researchers, and anyone who wants to better understand the remarkable political times in which we live.


‘Whether we like it or not, we are all living in Brexitland. In forensic detail, Sobolewska and Ford plot the long road of social change which led us here. En route, they look ahead to where the UK’s explosive culture wars could take us next. Essential reading for those not wearing blinkers.’

Adam Boulton - Sky News

‘Maria Sobolewska and Robert Ford have produced the best account I have read of our cultural civil wars. The work is not just an explanation of the way we live now, but of how we reached a state of institutionalised rage and why peace will be so hard to find.’

Nick Cohen - The Spectator and The Observer

‘Brexitland brilliantly unpicks the old and new forces that shaped our brittle political age. Who is exploiting the anger? And is it with us for good? A fascinating and convincing study: essential reading for anyone wanting to understand why tolerance of the other side in British politics seems to have disappeared. How did our political battleground turn so ugly and intolerant? Brexitland delves deep into decades of history and attitudes to race and ethnic identity to answer that question, and does it with style. Sobolewska and Ford have written the new political bible of our times: how did we stop debating and start shouting? Can normal service resume? Brexitland is a razor-sharp and compelling answer to those questions.’

Gary Gibbon - Channel 4 News

‘A brilliant, original, powerful book. For Remainers, Brexiters or indeed anyone interested in why divided Britain cut itself adrift from the EU, this is unmissable. It is also totally riveting.’

Toby Helm - The Observer

‘A sharp, accessible investigation of the key fault lines of modern British politics: education, immigration, age and identity.’

Helen Lewis - author of Difficult Women

'A brilliant bit of academic research, but written in a way that you or I can understand very easily.'

Stephen Bush Source: Big Issue

'A highly acute and insightful analysis, making telling use of extensive research, which induces the reader to think afresh about the political landscape we now find ourselves in and how we arrived here.'

Andrew Rawnsley Source: The Observer

'A sweeping and rigorous demographic and attitudinal study of recent British history.'

William Davies Source: London Review of Books

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