International / News / October 16, 2019

U.K. citizens of Knox discuss Brexit

After Brexit, junior Elliot Bainbridge’s passport will no longer enable him to visit his father in Slovakia without a visa or examination of his documents. (Katy Coseglia / TKS)

Citizens of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland voted in 2016 for the United Kingdom (U.K.) to leave the European Union (E.U.). If a “Brexit” deal defining the conditions of the U.K.’s departure is not passed by British Parliament and E.U. diplomats by Oct. 31, the U.K. will ‘crash out’ of the E.U.

The E.U. is a political and economic union that promotes trade and stability within its 28 members. Junior Elliot Bainbridge was born near Manchester in England. At the time of the Brexit referendum, Bainbridge supported leaving the E.U.

“That’s because the Leave Party, the campaign that they ran was so idealistically perfect. ‘The European Union would just rollover, they would give us everything that we wanted,’” Bainbridge said. “But what it’s turned out to be, it’s not that.”

If there were another Brexit referendum, Bainbridge said he would vote for the U.K. to stay. According to The New York Times, following a no deal Brexit the U.K. could expect to see food shortages, long delays at border crossings and a lack of access to medications.

But one of the largest complications yet to be sorted is how Northern Ireland’s border with the rest of Britain will work. Residents of Northern Ireland voted to remain in the E.U. and according to The New York Times, a no deal Brexit would likely upset the trade and social fabric between the neighboring Republic of Ireland.

Knox American History Professor Catherine Denial was born and raised in Sheffield, England and said she does not hope to return to an era of violent turmoil that has long existed in Northern Ireland.

“I remember searching for IRA bombs three times every four hour shift when I worked retail in college. I am not eager to see those days return again because [U.K. Prime Minister] Boris Johnson can’t think or negotiate his way out of a paper bag,” Denial said.

Knox Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Ben Farrer was born in northern England and returns there every 18 months to renew his visa. For Farrer, the underlying cause of Brexit involves a divide between two types of U.K citizens.

“Its like some people are really excited about globalization in the sense of what it could potentially mean for a type of life you can have, and other people are like: ‘It’s destroying everything that I love,’” Farrer said.

Farrer grew up around people who wanted to remain in the town they were born and continue on with the family they love. But many of the jobs those rural towns depended upon are no longer available. What’s more, Farrer said rural people can be looked down on by London urbanites whose idea of a good life can focus more on meeting new people, being creative or traveling abroad.

For Bainbridge, the fallout of Brexit has made him “less naive” to politicians and their quixotic campaigns.

“In 2020, don’t listen to what people say,” Bainbridge said.

Sam Lisec, Multimedia Reporter
Multimedia Reporter
Samuel Lisec is a senior majoring in creative writing and philosophy. He has worked as a staff writer, co-news editor and podcast host for The Knox Student. Lisec has also interned at the Register-Mail local newspaper in Galesburg, IL and is a recipient of the 2nd Place award for Investigative Reporting at ICPA in 2019. Email:

Tags:  brexit Cate Denial

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