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Opinion
Niall Ferguson

Brexit Has the UK Traveling the Wrong Way in Time

Even considering the disruptions of Covid and the war in Ukraine, leaving the EU has been an expensive divorce for Britain.  

Back to the future?

Back to the future?

Photographer: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images  

The idea of time travel is an old British preoccupation, from H.G. Wells’s 1895 novel to the seemingly immortal television series “Doctor Who,” which first aired in 1963, the year before I was born. Although I didn’t travel by Tardis or encounter any murderous Daleks, returning to my native land last month felt more than usually like a “Doctor Who” episode.

It was partly the bucolic pleasures of the Chalke Valley History Festival in Wiltshire that felt like time travel. It’s a medieval fair, complete with tents and amusements (only dancing bears are lacking), but with the main business a series of talks by historians of more or less all persuasions.