The ‘user image’ of Brexit, a bit like that of Trump, the AfD or, in Ireland, Sinn Fein, isn't the most attractive available on the ‘market’. Typically older, angrier and more dis-advantaged than the average citizen, the Brexit voter is regularly painted as inward-looking and even Neanderthal. Thus, the Brexit act is typically portrayed as one where hopeless nostalgia meets impotent rage. But is this portrayal even a tad simplistic? The ‘For’ side argues that Brexit is a prescient acknowledgement of an inexorable shift in the global balance of power toward the young, thriving metropolises of the East. ‘Against’ suggests that, in fact, Brexit is the wrong strategy, perfectly implemented, the inevitable result of a botched electoral process based on a false premise.
Few things inflame the passions more than challenges to identity. These days, such challenges are everywhere. Individuals and organisations—even nations face the fallout of a shifting worldview that has pit an old guard against a new establishment. Central to these challenges is language, the very foundation of our understanding. This point becomes apparent in the debate as to whether or not Ireland could be considered a vassal state. Here, the For side lays out a largely semantic argument, while Against extols the virtues of Ireland’s quiet diplomacy as evidence of the country’s prowess, if not independence. As ever, the validity of each argument is up to the reader to decide.