My article for the Huffington Post:
“Living in Oxford in the lead up to the referendum, I had not experienced Brexit as a contentious topic of debate — Remain won the city by an overwhelming majority, a consensus reflected in the popular discourse. When the Oxford Union debating society brought in political leaders including UKIP’s Nigel Farage and former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg to make both cases to students, the ‘leave’ motion mustered only 73 votes, compared to nearly 300 in favor of remain. And the Union debate was one of the only times I encountered the issue framed as a binary choice. While Brexit featured prominently in both casual conversations and University lecture series, the question was intellectualized and abstracted: ‘how did we get to this point,’ ‘what does this say about British politics today,’ ‘what’s next for the Conservative party.’ The implicit assumption was that Brexit was a bout of temporary insanity and sentimentality run amuck — while the vote might be close, there was never any serious doubt as to what side would prevail.
When I talked about Brexit with my friends, we were throwing opinions into an echo chamber. Within this bubble we failed to anticipate the consensus within our own social and academic circles could so sharply diverge from sentiments elsewhere in the country.”