Book review: Brexit – the desire to take back control

Book review: Brexit – the desire to take back control

Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union by Harold D Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley

There is a common misconception that the UK’s bosses were all remain voters, but I am willing to admit I was one of the many British businessmen who voted to leave the European Union. I did so having attended rallies aimed at getting me to vote remain.

I saw both David Cameron and Michael Gove trying to persuade me into their camp, but felt they were disingenuous and blind to the issues that were making the UK more divided by the day. I had concerns about the north/south divide and the challenges presented by spiralling immigration.

This book gives a fascinating insight into the people who voted to leave, debunking the myths about the typical leave voter. Its explanation of the rise of UKIP and its assessment of the UK’s attitude to immigration should perhaps be read by all politicians.  

The conclusion of the book is a simple one: the Brexit vote was about taking back control and preserving identity – something that will resonate among business leaders throughout the UK.  

As someone who is looking ahead to the future economic strength of the UK, I was particularly interested to read the authors' assessment of how the world views our decision. Certainly we have a job on our hands to convince the rest of the world that we can deliver cohesion and rationality and that we are not all backing a UKIP-style hardline approach. 

However, this book is a piece of detailed technical writing that will not be for coffee tables across the UK, but is more likely to become the definitive read for future generations of students when trying to understand the age in which we are living. It is academic and sets the referendum vote into historical context. It demonstrates what has been and what continues to be a challenging environment in which UK plc must operate.

I appreciated the factual stance the authors have taken, backing up their assessments with hard facts taken from more than 150,000 voters. The authors are academics, not politicians, and this gives them both authority and balance. It is a challenging read, but an important piece of work for anyone who has an interest in politics at both a national and global level.

Carl Lamb is managing director of Almary Green Investments