There is no shortage of opinion pieces claiming to know what the Referendum held on 23 June 2016 on the UK’s membership of the European Union represents. Yet in these early months, it is by no means clear what kind of an event this was and what might yet unfold from it. What is clearer is how this political moment has been felt, embodied and sensed, at least among many on the progressive Left. I know that I am not alone in feeling exhausted by emotions as well as by the intensified atmospheres of fear, shame and anger (Orbach, 2016). In this vote, a Right Wing English nationalism that erupts from time to time bloomed in a thousand tiny ways. The heightened nationalist atmosphere led to a marked rise in racist attacks and hate crimes against minorities. Following the initial impasse that came with the result, the UK now has a more Right Wing government than it had previously and a Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs that has a history of making racist statements. All this seems to have been legitimized, or grudgingly accepted, at least for the moment. How might we understand and place this revitalized nationalism, as well as the ways in which it circulated in and through this particular referendum campaign? What made this nationalist atmosphere possible and what does it mean for the politics of the Left?
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