OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

The Road to Brexit: Euroscepticism, Hyperdemocracy and Political Acceleration


On June 23rd, 2016, the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to decide the question on whether to remain a member of the European Union, known as the Brexit referendum. The inadequate debate in the campaign and subsequent shock result that saw a slim majority want to leave has consequently resulted in much of the conversation in media and political spheres fixated on what Brexit exactly means, or what a future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union should look like. Regardless of what has occurred since March 29th, 2019, the originally set date of Britain’s official exit from the European Union, it is important to understand why the referendum was held in the first place, and what does the referendum say about the health of contemporary Western liberal democracies. This paper reinforces the idea that Brexit was the acceleration of several existing, long-term historical, political, and social trends taking place in the United Kingdom. While this level of analysis is sufficiently explored in existing literature, this paper introduces ideas found in a political theory called ‘hyperdemocracy.’ This vigorous theory articulated by British political theorist Stephen Welch describes an intense period of politics characterized by democratization of the democratic process itself. The marriage of the strong body of published literature from many disciplines with broader, theoretical explanations for the condition of current political discourse allows for a fuller understanding of the unique circumstances surrounding Brexit.

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