Gavin Esler & Samir Puri: Brexit, Britain and the Legacy of Empire

What is the future for the United Kingdom as a political entity? And how has the end of the British Empire influenced its trajectory in recent years? A former BBC journalist and a senior political strategist discuss some potential answers in this event, filmed live at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival. ‘It’s the endgame for Britishness… Brexit is drowning the Union,’ says Gavin Esler in his new book How Britain Ends. ‘While the United Kingdom can survive Irish, Scottish and Welsh nationalisms, it cannot survive English nationalism.’ For Esler, the answer lies in a federal system of national and regional governments. Meanwhile Samir Puri takes a wider look at empires in The Great Imperial Hangover, arguing that even as empires dissolve, their legacies continue to shape our lives. From Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ policy to China’s engagements with Africa, via Brexit, Ukraine and the Middle East, Puri shows how the history of empire continues to affect people all over the world – including the British. Join both writers as they lay out their views of the future with journalist and broadcaster Ruth Wishart.

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