The Disregarded European Question and the British Party System
A Crucial Test for Tories and Labour
The vote by the British people to leave the European Union is not only the manifestation of an economically weak and discontented class. Rather, it reflects a British – and in particular English – handling of the European continent. Since the EU cleavage lays across the conflict lines of the big parties, neither Tories nor Labour can organise majorities capable of acting. Specificities of the political system, political culture and historical factors all serve to tighten the current deadlock. Furthermore, the European question is not only a matter of Britain’s relations with the continent; indeed, it risks threatening the unity of the United Kingdom itself.