It’s not just Brexit that has deepened society’s divisions

At the ipaper 

With the appalling letter-bomb campaign in New York and following the divisive Kavanaugh row, political polarisation seems to have become an existential issue in the US. Yet there are plenty of reasons to believe that here in the UK we might be following this route, a division triggered by the 2016 referendum.

The extent to which the vote has created new political identities in such a short space of time is revolutionary. A new report this week showed that four times as many Britons identify as “very strong” Leavers or Remainers as they do supporters of a party.

More disturbing, perhaps, there are clear signs of American-style polarisation with 26 per cent of Remain voters having no Brexit-supporting friends, and 18 per cent objecting to a family member marrying a Brexiteer (compared to 10 per cent of Leavers). Some blame the referendum for this divide, but it surely expressed already existing divisions building up in the country, and there may be a wider issue at play – freedom.

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