Brexit Headline Today

British voters’ decision three years ago to split from the European Union was fueled by a sense that the U.K. is fundamentally separate from its continental neighbors — a sceptered isle, rather than a European power. Brexit-backing Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg has compared Brexit to historic British military victories on the continent, saying “it’s Waterloo, it’s Agincourt, it’s Crecy.” Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage fires up crowds with air-raid sirens and the theme from World War II thriller “The Great Escape.” Such patriotic messages strike a strong chord in an era of surging nationalism. But anti-Brexit politicians and historians say that view is too simplistic — and could end up making the U.K. weaker rather than stronger. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown argued Sunday in The Observer newspaper that “a destructive, populist, nationalist ideology” was leaving the United Kingdom “sleepwalking into oblivion.” Brown, who was Labour Party leader and British prime minister between 2007 and 2010, accused current Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson of “conjuring up the absurd and mendacious image of the patriotic British valiantly defying an intransigent Europe determined to turn us into a vassal state.” Richard J. Evans, professor emeritus of history at Cambridge University, lamented an increasing tendency to “talk about Europe as if it’s somewhere separate, as if Britain is not part of Europe.” “I went to Gatwick Airport recently and there’s a huge advertisement there for an airline that says ‘Europe is closer than you think,’” he said. “And I thought, well, it’s closer…

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