Brexit has its roots in the British Empire. So how do we explain it to the young? The EU referendum was the last throes of Empire working its way out of our systems.

Is Brexit a marvellous opportunity to renew our imperial contacts? On the one hand we have UKIP, who tell us that “Outside the EU the world is our oyster, and the Commonwealth the pearl within”. Boris Johnson has been falling off his bike with enthusiasm for world trade outside the EU. On the other hand we have David Cameron banging on about 40 per cent of our trade being with the EU and the difficulty of doing deals with the rest of the world. What should we tell the children?

This is an extract from an article for Staggers, The New Statesman Blog. Read the full article on The Staggers website or in the web archive.

Illustration by Joseph P Kelly

Illustration by Joseph P Kelly