School of Global Studies


School of Global Studies, One World Week events 19 - 23 March 2018

"Brexitannia is an insight into the ideational fabric of modern Britain the like of which you will not get from most ‘political science’, broadcast news or, perhaps most worryingly, from conventional political discussion."
- Oliver Daddow on the London School of Economics blog.

Timothy George Kelly, a London-based Australian filmmaker travelled around the UK talking to people about being British in the months after the referendum.

The result, Brexitannia, is a beautifully crafted, sobering snapshot of a country in turmoil. ‘A portrait of democracy in all its ugly glory,’ says Kelly.

The first documentary about Brexit, Brexitannia challenges the caricatures often used to demonise Leave and Remain voters, and brings into focus several other dividing lines – the gulf between country and city, young and old, migration, automation, globalisation, and British identity.

It also crucially places the Brexit vote in its wider socio-economic context, and in doing so offers a way to move past Leave/Remain identity politics.

Brexitannia is divided into two parts. Interviews with ‘the people’ – ordinary voters who explain why they voted the way they did, and their view on what it means to be British – and interviews with ‘the experts,’ who include Noam Chomsky.

This approach sounds rather ungainly, but ‘the experts’ are able to frame the Brexit vote in its proper context – the collapse of neoliberalism – explaining how certain communities have been brought to their knees by privatisation and the free-market ideal.

‘The people’ are shot alone, from a distance – at home or at work – and given time to think aloud and express themselves openly.

Sat alone on their front drive, or standing in their back garden, there is an acute sense of ‘the people’s’ vulnerability, of the distance between them and Westminster.

By giving the interviewees a space to voice their opinions, the film shows the complexities and contradictions of collective democratic decision-making, challenging lazy narratives about what caused Brexit and why people voted Leave or Remain.

But the film never passes judgement.

(Extract from The Pan European, June 19, 2017)

Back to the One World Week programme