Latest Issue

Brexit and the Corbyn effect: an accident of history? 

Historians will ask: how did a pro-European party elect a Eurosceptic as leader?   

By Robert Saunders  

Photo: John Linton/PA Archive/PA Images

When the time comes to write the history of Brexit, the historian will face a familiar question. What drives historical change? Is it deep, structural forces, boiling away beneath the surface of society? Or accident and contingency: small moments which, like the switches on a railway line, need only a touch to set the train of events speeding to a different destination?

It’s a recurring dilemma. The English Reformation, the First World War, the fall of the Berlin Wall: all had powerful, long-term causes.…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect