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Was Brexit Inevitable?

On one level, Brexit was simply the unintended outcome of the United Kingdom’s 2016 referendum on its European Union membership. But in retrospect, there was a whiff of inevitability about the UK’s separation – not from Europe, but from a particular institutional expression of it.

LONDON – On one level, the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union was an unintended consequence of a too-clever political ploy by former Prime Minister David Cameron. In 2015, in order to undercut the appeal of Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party movement, and secure a Conservative majority in the upcoming general election, Cameron promised a referendum on whether Britain should stay in the EU. He expected to win and keep Britain in the EU. He succeeded in his first aim, only to resign immediately when the “Leave” side won the UK’s 2016 referendum on its EU membership.