THE unassuming but indisputably brilliant Briefings for Brexit website slid on to the political radar early last year and has provided factual evidence and reasoned argument for Brexit ever since. Its intention was to encourage academics out of the woodwork and provide them with a platform from which they would dare voice their considered views – as well as put paid to the elitist critique that Brexit voters were by definition ‘the uneducated’.
Briefings for Brexit is the brainchild of the eminent historian Professor Robert Tombs, whose 1,000-page epic The English And Their History was published in 2014 to near-universal acclaim, and Dr Graham Gudgin, the experienced Cambridge economist. As editors they have set an energetic pace and a high standard of publications. A year later and it is my ‘go to’ for factual analysis of the economic, legal and political dimensions of Brexit as well as for their experts’ take on the latest policy developments.
They produce reports, blogs, briefings and some of the best podcasts I have heard – so good indeed with the defence expert Professor Gwythian Prins that I had it all transcribed to publish on TCW.
The site is a mine of information. If I have one criticism, it is this – they need, IMHO, to highlight their specialist writers, perhaps as displayed here, so that at a glance you could see the full and extraordinary spectrum of expertise and talent they draw on and have at their disposal.
When they set out on this pro-Brexit mission to inform and educate, Dominic Lawson wrote: ‘I greatly admire the academics who’ve come out for Brexit but they’ll need thick skins and courage.’ I am not sure that he needed to worry. They might not have the backing of billionaires, but these ‘brains’ are no snowflakes. They have the full confidence of their knowledge, disciplined and critical thinking faculties. They are not easily dismissed and are no pushovers. In fact they have defied the culture of fear that pervades our universities; they are still here and going from strength to strength, a beacon of light and hope for academics too scared to reveal their true opinion.
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