- Wednesday, 17 March, 2021
16:30 - 17:30
Rt Hon Lord Frost CMG
Minister of State at the Cabinet Office
Rt Hon Lord Mandelson
former First Secretary of State, European Commissioner for Trade
Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Rt Hon Amber Rudd
former Home Secretary
Professor Robert Tombs
Professor Emeritus of French History and Fellow, St John’s College Cambridge
About the book:
Published on the first anniversary of Brexit, one of its leading intellectual advocates examines the referendum vote in the context of history.
From the celebrated author of The English and Their History, This Sovereign Isle explains the historical, economic and political origins of Brexit to both Remainers and Leavers, and engages sympathetically if critically with the arguments and fears of both sides – not just Remainers. Tombs writes widely on the history of Euroscepticism and Britain’s status as an island nation. He shows that the decision to leave the EU is historically explicable – though not made historically inevitable – by Britain’s very different historical experience, especially in the twentieth century, and because of our more extensive and deeper ties outside Europe. He believes that Vote Leave was the correct and rational decision.
As Tombs asserts, geography comes before history. Islands cannot have the same history as continental plains. The United Kingdom is a European country, but not the same kind of European country as Germany, Poland or Hungary. For most of the 150 centuries during which Britain has been inhabited it has been on the edge, culturally and literally, of mainland Europe.
In this succinct book, he challenges the orthodox view that Brexit was due solely to British or English exceptionalism: in choosing to leave the EU, the British, he argues, were in many ways voting as typical Europeans.