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Brexit and echoes of imperial preference

What a lesson from history tells us about the dangers of simple remedies

By Benedict Macon-Cooney  

Joseph Chamberlain. Photo: United States Library of Congress

It is the turn of the century and an unease is gripping British politics. Led by a man described as a “fanatical charlatan,” the debate is dominated by trade and tariffs, creating splinter groups in parties and forcing the prime minister to respond with fudges to hold the governing party together. The question is one of Britain’s place in the world: how to react to the forces of globalisation, and how Britain’s economy can compete as powers around it rise.

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