Brexit Case Study

Published: 2021/11/30
Number of words: 1576


Referendum votes approved the UK’s call to exit European Union (EU) on June 23, 2016. This case study, therefore, assesses various motives in the European integration and the rise of separatism not only in the UK but also in other parts of the world. Also, the referendum process is analyzed deeper in the article. The main purpose of this case is primarily to offer contemporary counterpoint based on the topics related to political and economic impacts of the financial crisis of 2008. People started thinking in such a way that promoted nationalism because the days were tighter, and this thinking paradigm soared everywhere in the world. As a result, the internationalist model was fading, a trend that has been dominant since the end of World War II. In the context of the EU, member states felt that the union’s policies only favored its survival, and therefore, the Brexit scenario was born out of this perspective. By exiting the union, the Britons felt that they could solve their interests first before considering those of others. Stemming from the 2008 financial crisis, a global trend in geopolitical arose including populism, separatism, economic and political nationalism, and cultural and ethnocentrism.


Economic nationalism has become dominant globally, and the UK is not exempted from this trend. The financial crisis of 2008 is believed to have spurred this mode of thinking as countries see it fit to place the interest of their nation firsthand to those of others. It marked the end of the internationalism era, a period when governments preferred to think of political and economic cooperation between each other. In the UK, which is given as an example due to Brexit, the political formations that affiliated to populism, separatism, and nationalism succeeded in popularity. For example, the emergence of parties, such as the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), promoted separatism. Under the leadership of Nigel Farage, UKIP electoral success was based on its stance on immigration and being against free people’s movement in Europe. During the Brexit referendum, there were two main sides, Vote Leave, and Stronger In. The former championed for exiting the union, while the latter represented those who wanted to remain as EU members. Michael Gover, David Cameron, Boris Johnson, and Nigel Farage are examples of people who promoted Euroskepticism, which was disbelief on the EU alliance merits (Bruner & Hare, 2017). On the other hand, Stronger In political affiliations led by Jeremy Corbyn championed for continued membership in the EU. Their failure, however, marked people’s preference for nationalism, and the abolition of internationalism.

Need an essay assistance?
Our professional writers are here to help you.
Place an order

Identify the Problem

The rise of economic nationalism is the main problem from the case. This ideology favors the government’s internationalism over others by initiating policies, such as the formation of capital, and controlling economy domestically. This process opposes globalization and it restricts free trade. This perspective is explicit globally. For example, in the contemporary trade war between China and the USA, limitations are typical with each nation imposing tariffs on business (Calhoun, 2017). Consequently, the end of economic internationalism is eminent as most governments currently impose restrictions on the free movement of goods, labor, and capital between nations. Learning from Brexit’s case, other countries have now adopted separatism ideology, and this method has a significant effect on globalization perspective.


The Brexit vote was a significant occasion both in the UK and globally because it created a trend of economic nationalism and economic populism. The separatists in the UK championed for exiting the EU because they were skeptical of the benefits they get from the alliance. The process was dedicated to a name, “Vote Leave.” This side was led by the Conservative cabinet minister Michael Gove, Labor MP Gisela Stuart, and Boris Johnson. The “Stronger In” represented those who believed that remaining as part of the EU has economic advantage and security merits, and it was led by John Major, Tony Blair, David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn, and George Osborne. The Vote Leave won by 52 percent against 48 percent for Stronger In. This outcome was significant globally because it authenticated legitimacy for economic nationalism and the abolishment of internationalism.

The panic of 2008 had a significant change in political and economic ideologies across Europe and the EU. For example, in April 2010, Greek debt was rated junk, and in April 2011, they struggled to repay the bailout. Others include the Brexit referendum, Catalan independence vote, and Icelandic bid to drop EU membership, to name a few. All these scenarios stem from the financial crisis of 2008, which altered the way nations think about their economy; therefore, nations adopted economic centric ideologies that can only benefit them but not others. Such beliefs prompted the trends in separatism, nationalism, and populism, which then became dominant in sectional divisions within Europe.

David Cameron opted to call for a referendum to show the world European civilizations. Cameron, however, championed for staying EU, but this decision did not go well with “Stronger In” political affiliations. Regional integration was faltering already in the UK while nationalism was taking precedence. Boris Johnson and his company won the referendum as the members of “Leave Vote” affiliates. This outcome then indicated the trending ideologies in terms of integration. Mainly, there was growing disbelief in the union’s policies in the UK. For example, the Vote Leave proponents believed that GBP350 million that is sent to the EU weekly is too much and this fund could be used for improving healthcare systems in the country (Born, Müller, Schularick, & Sedláček, 2019). Generally, economic nationalism had assumed center stage in Europe and no one could stop it.

The Britons voted to exit the EU because they felt that it would boost their economic interest at the expense of others. Firstly, the Vote Leave advocates cited that the funds that are commonly sent to the EU weekly is too much and it could be channeled to hospitals. Secondly, Britain could control its borders so as to enhance immigrants’ screening. Thirdly, to improve their bilateral trade agreements with other nations by now not needing approval from the EU. Lastly, Britons believed that exiting would give them freedom from laws made at the EU which they deemed anti-democratic. The Stronger In factions had contrary reasons. Firstly, they believed that remaining in the EU would promote Britain’s function as a world leader. Secondly, they believed that staying in the union will avoid a reduction in free trade opportunities. Lastly, the essence of economic growth, especially by the presence of a common market, will boost the UK economy and even expand its exports. Going by the inevitable nationalism trend after the 2008 financial crisis, I would opt for Vote Leave. Exiting the EU means that Britain can concentrate on its people and use the money they channel in the union for domestic purposes. Another benefit is that the country can be autonomous from the union’s policies, and therefore, they can make laws that favor only the Britons. However, this option has adverse impacts on the EU, such as restricted free movements and reduced the union’s revenue collections from member states. Other EU members are more likely to adopt a nationalism ideological shift, and this may impact the union adversely.

Being that the UK is one of the largest exporters in the EU, Canada will be affected significantly. As a result, they will be required to change their trade policies on dealing with the UK directly. Well, this case may apply to other nations as well. To remain relevant in trade affairs, Canada is, therefore, forced to strike a possible trade deal with the UK. Such a tactic can improve the country’s relationship with the UK.

Worry about your grades?
See how we can help you with our essay writing service.

Recommended Solution

Economic nationalism is taking precedence, and this may jeopardize the least developed countries’ economic growth. However, it is hard to deny this trend and even the gradual cessation of economic internationalism. So, it is prudent for nations to accept this ideological shift to stay relevant. A better solution can exist, especially relying on United Nations (UN) intervention whereby a unifying policy should be instituted that favors all nations. This way, globalization can be maintained considerably, and the least developed countries can benefit.


The financial crisis of 2008 spurred a lot of crisis across Europe and even prompted ideological shift globally. A trend in geopolitics arose that included populism, separatism, nationalism, and ethnocentrism. This trend is demonstrated by the Brexit referendum result which showed that the Vote Leave affiliates won by 52% against the Stronger In 48%. The result proved the UK’s disbelief in the union’s policies and laws – a situation known as Euroskepticism. Least developed countries can be affected significantly with this geopolitical shits, especially in terms of trade and economic growth. It means that internationalism is soon fading, and each nation is beginning to consider their interest firsthand before those of others.


Born, B., Müller, G. J., Schularick, M., & Sedláček, P. (2019). The costs of economic nationalism: evidence from the Brexit experiment. The Economic Journal129(623), 2722-2744.

Bruner, R. F., & Hare, K. (2017). The panic of 2008 and Brexit: Regional integration versus nationalism

Calhoun, C. (2017). Populism, nationalism, and Brexit. Brexit: Sociological Responses, 57-76.

Cite this page

Choose cite format:
Online Chat Messenger Email
+44 800 520 0055