There has been widespread analysis and commentary in recent weeks about what the Brexit vote will mean for the global economy, but School of Public Policy Professor John Rennie Short wrote in a June 25 op-ed in The Conversation that the vote reveals a lot about the political geography in the United Kingdom.
“The vote laid bare a seldom-acknowledged political and economic imbalance within the country. It has also raised the chances of dissolving a more than three centuries-old union,” he explained.
Short wrote about the economic and social inequality in the U.K. and how the voted reflected competing interests in a crowded political space.
“There is a spatial dimension to this social inequality. The U.K. has the most marked regional inequality in Europe. The rich and wealthy are concentrated in London and the South East where household incomes are higher than the rest of the country. As the U.K. became a more unequal and divided society, the cleavage between London and the South East compared to the rest of the country is becoming more marked.”
Prof. Short also wrote about what lies ahead politically for the U.K., stating, “the Brexit vote reveals and embodies the deep divide in the U.K. between the different regions of England and Wales and especially between the affluent London and the South East. This division is unlikely to heal soon.”
Read Short’s full article, titled “The geography of Brexit: what the vote reveals about the Disunited Kingdom,” on The Conversation‘s website. The article was also republished in the Associated Press, Salon, and SF Gate.
Image: John Rennie Short. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.