The Anglosphere was one of the surprise winners of the 2016 referendum campaign. As an explicitly stated concept it appeared early on in the campaign but soon faded from view. But where it did play a part in the campaign was less as a unitary concept but more in its constituent parts: sometimes as an example to emulate and at other times as another layer of global interference to reject. Most importantly, it was an important element of a specifically English nationalism that sought to defend British sovereignty from competing nationalisms, whilst restoring a global conception of the UK’s national interests.
The Anglosphere and the Commonwealth assumed increased importance after the shock result as Leave leaders sought to elaborate an alternative to Europe that they seemed not to have developed deeply before 24 June.
Dr Ben Wellings is an expert on the politics of nationalism, Euroscepticism and Brexit in contemporary Europe. He is the Deputy-director of the Monash European and EU Centre.
Before joining Monash University in 2013 he was the Convenor of European Studies at the Australian National University from 2004 to 2013. He is a sought after public speaker and clear communicator of complex ideas to diverse audiences. He has appeared on Sky News, ABC News 24, The Project and commercial radio, as well as providing expert commentary for Asian media outlets and advice to government in Australia and the UK.
He also writes regularly for The Drum and The Conversation on English nationalism, Euroscepticism and the politics of the European Union.