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Accepted Paper:

"That cosy world is gone". The British coalfields in the age of Brexit  
Federico Vernarelli

Paper short abstract:

In 2019 elections, many Labour heartlands in the British coalfields elected a Conservative representative for the first time. Labeled as "the crumble of the Red Wall", this historic turn was caused by the Brexit campaign in places that badly suffered the effects of deindustrialisation.

Paper long abstract:

My master's fieldwork on the effects of deindustrialisation in former coalfields in South and West Yorkshire accidentally coincided with the campaign and the aftermath of the December 2019 general elections, when people were called to choose between the promise of a second referendum made by the Labour Party and the firm determination of the Conservative Party to finally “get Brexit done.”

In mining villages, traditional Labour heartlands since more than a century which had expressed overwhelming support for Leave in 2016 referendum, the decision was experienced by many as an unforgivable treason, the demonstration of the fact that their will meant nothing in the eyes of a London-centric political class.

When the results were announced, many coalfield constituencies found themselves to be represented by a Conservative MP for the first time in their history.

Despite being still rhetorically celebrated, the working class solidarity that characterised mining communities gradually faded away with the closing of the mines, the centre of the symbolic order of the communities and the horizon of meaning around which every aspect of social life revolved. It was replaced by what has been called ''coal nationalism'', a mixture of nostalgia for the industrial past, sense of abandonment, fear of the precariousness of the present and resentment for a perceived state of decay of the country.

These ingredients represented the ideal terrain for eurosceptic forces, whose mantra 'Take back control' promised a restoration of the lost stability of the past.

Panel Irre12a
Scaling irresponsibility: perceptions of the failure of European liberal democratic politics I
  Session 1 Tuesday 30 March, 2021, -