Nigel Farage John Thys/Getty Images

How Britain Could Change Its Mind About Brexit

Nigel Farage, the former UK Independence Party leader, now says that the June 2016 Brexit referendum could be overturned. He's right, and the first requirement is to dispel the aura of inevitability surrounding Britain's withdrawal from Europe.

LONDON – Will 2018 be the year when the United Kingdom changes its mind about leaving the European Union? Conventional wisdom says that stopping Brexit is impossible. But what did conventional wisdom say about Donald Trump? Or Emmanuel Macron? Or, for that matter, the original Brexit referendum? In revolutionary times, events can go from impossible to inevitable without ever passing through improbable. Brexit was such an event, and its reversal could be another.

Just ask Nigel Farage, the former UK Independence Party leader, who has suddenly said that the June 2016 Brexit referendum could be overturned. “The Remain side are making all the running,” Farage warned his fellow hardline Leavers this weekend. “They have a majority in parliament, and unless we get ourselves organized we could lose the historic victory that was Brexit.”

The votes for Brexit and Trump are often described today as an ineluctable result of deep socioeconomic factors like inequality or globalization. In some ways, this description is right. Political upheavals of some kind were to be expected after the 2008 economic crisis, as I have argued for years.

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