School of Politics and International Relations

The politics of blame in the UK’s relationship with the EU

7 October 2019

Lecturer in Politics, Dr Paul Copeland, wrote an opinion piece for the DCU Brexit Institute, discussing the implications blaming had on the Brexit referendum. He writes: “During the 2016 UK referendum campaign on UK membership of the EU the slogan ‘take back control’ became the dominant message of Vote Leave. While ‘taking back control’ is specific regarding the consequences of voting leave, it’s sufficiently broad to encompass a wide range of policy issues. Austerity provided the political and economic context in which Vote Leave was able to craft its argument. Vote Leave therefore found a scapegoat in the form of UK membership of the EU to take the blame for austerity and this helped Brexiteers to their marginal victory in June 2016. Blaming other people for the failings of government policy and political incompetence has become a mainstay of current UK politics. Until the electorate is willing or able to listen to the truth, this depressing situation will continue and the wrong groups of individuals will take the blame for the failings of others.”
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