Brexit is Fueling the Nativist Movement in Britain: A Debate


About This Event:

January 31st will mark the second anniversary of Brexit, Britain’s formal withdrawal from the European Union after nearly half a century. The move was set in motion when Britain voted to quit the EU by a narrow 52% majority after the former Tory Prime Minister David Cameron called a referendum in 2016 in the hope, ironically, of defeating the growing Euroskeptic movement. This movement no longer believed that access to the European market was worth the loss of British sovereignty and control of its borders. But leaving the EU would not necessarily mean an insular or nativist Britain, some Euroskeptics argued, but rather a Britain that opened itself to the world in accordance with its own interests without pressure from external, unelected bureaucrats.

Which way are things headed? To take stock of this question, Mercatus Center and American Purpose co-hosted a live debate on January 27th, 2022 at 1 pm EST titled: “Brexit is Fueling the Nativist Movement in Britain.”

Dr. Stephen Davies will take the affirmative position. Davies is the head of education at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).  He is the author of “The Economics and Politics of Brexit,” 2020, “Empiricism and History,” 2003, “The Wealth Explosion,” 2019, and “The Streetwise Guide to The Devil”2021.

David Goodhart will take the negative position. Goodhart is a journalist, author and current head of the demography unit at the Policy Exchange. He is the founder and former editor of Prospect magazine and the former director of the center-left think tank Demos. His 2013 book, “The British Dream: Successes and Failures of Post-War Immigration,” was the runner up for the Orwell book prize. He has written two books related to Brexit, “The Road to Somewhere: The New Tribes Shaping British Politics,” 2017, Sunday Times bestseller, and “Head, Hand, Heart: The Struggle for Dignity and Status in the 21st Century,” 2020.

Mercatus Center Resident Fellow and Editor of The UnPopulist, Shikha Dalmia, will moderate the debate and American Purpose Chairman Francis Fukuyama will make opening remarks. Fukuyama is Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow and director of the Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy program at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. His most recent book is Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment (2018). His book The End of History and the Last Man (1992) has appeared in over twenty foreign editions.