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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.…

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