chapter  11
13 Pages

Brexit and British Exceptionalism

ByPeter Nedergaard, Maja Friis Henriksen

Many analysts and journalists have preferred making Brexit a question of unfortunate calculations made by David Cameron to solve conflicts within the Conservative Party. Brexit also has far more ancient roots, manifested throughout this chapter in terms of British exceptionalisms, even though not all exceptionalisms have pointed in the Brexit direction. The pragmatic Common Law system establishes the first example of British exceptionalism, which should be understood in relation to the legal doctrine in other parts of Europe. Most European countries affirm individual rights in a constitution, but a striking British peculiarity is the tradition of having no such institution. The world's first industrial revolution occurred in England. Unfolding in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, it radically transformed British society financially, socially and culturally. Industrialisation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries triggered developments with political consequences, including increasing political unrest and major social disorder.