In this respect, the recent appeal by Der Spiegel was salient, speaking of a mythohistoric British spirit of “inner independence.” Britain has not had a quiet history; it has had its own share of atrocities at home and abroad, and its own seventeenth-century civil war. Yet Britain has also had a distinctive and, in modern times, stable political evolution, which paired with a rebelliousness towards the European continent, can be valuable. This observation does not dictate a withdrawal. Rather, it suggests that Britain and Europe are better off with a Remain vote. In the spirit of the volunteer for Britain’s fighter command in 1940 who joined to refute the notion that fanatics fought harder, may the verdict be swung by the reluctant and the skeptical on referendum day.
Patrick Porter is the academic director of the Strategy and Security Institute at the University of Exeter.
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