Brexit, English Nationalism and the Anglosphere
Mar 28, 2017
Dr Ben Wellings
Brexit, English Nationalism and the Anglosphere

What does Brexit and the politics of English nationalism mean for the UK, Europe and Australia?

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has opened a fundamental crack in the western world. Australia’s relationship with the United Kingdom was grounded in the UK’s relationship with the EU, but Brexit has changed this.

Brexit has been explained as a revolt of those ‘left behind’ by the benefits of globalisation.  Yet there is evidence to suggest alternative explanations. The UK withdrawal from the EU was forced up the political agenda by parties and individuals who had a certain view of Britain’s place in the world.  For the Brexiteers, Britain was a global trading nation, constrained in the regional mentality of the EU.  Its global past pointed towards a global future in the Anglosphere.  But this seemingly ‘British’ view was most strongly held in England, meaning that as England dragged the UK out of the EU, the British government needed to simultaneously find new allies and markets and keep the UK from splitting apart.

As Australia begins negotiations for a free trade agreement with the EU, the Australian government must act carefully to avoid being swept along in the Brexiteers’ hopeful vision of a global Britain.

Ben Wellings is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Monash University. Before joining Monash University in 2013 he was the Convenor of European Studies at the Australian National University from 2004 to 2013. 

He was educated at the University of Sussex, Edinburgh University and the Australian National University.  He has worked in the House of Commons and for a public affairs company in Edinburgh advising clients on the impact of Scottish devolution.

In 2012 he debated one of the leaders of the UK’s Brexit Campaign, Daniel Hannan MEP in Auckland. In 2016 he commented regularly on television and online media.

He is a sought after public speaker and clear communicator of complex ideas to diverse audiences. He has appeared on Sky News, ABC News 24, The Project and commercial radio, as well as providing expert commentary for Asian media outlets and advice to government in Australia and the UK.