The Middle Opinion. The English Empire.

Brexit, the USA election and the 2014 Scottish referendum are alike. Binary on the surface: two groups bitterly contest two options. Underlying this, a continuum: are the differences within the groups less than or greater than the differences between the groups? ... there is a distribution of opinions over the continuum; and the middle opinion is of special significance.
The Middle Opinion. Brexit 2019.
The Middle Opinion. The English Empire. SEE BELOW.
The Middle Opinion. USA 2020.
… Chapters 9 to 18 of which contain a generic account of ‘the middle opinion’
All in early draft form. Not all chapters are available.

1 Brexit and the English Empire: full text below.
2 World society: tension and volatility in a multi-level geopolitical structure
     See pages 10-11 in extract for overview of Chapter 7 in YB14
3 World history: progress and destruction, independence and incorporation
     See page 11 in extract for overview of Chapter 8 in YB14
4 The American Colonies
     The Middle Opinion. USA 2020.
5 Ireland
     Northern Ireland 2015
     Ireland referendum 2015
     Time series: Ireland, 1801-1916-2016, political configurations and trajectories
     Optimal social choice, preference functions: Peter Emerson and Dublin City Council
6 Scotland
     Scottish independence referendum 2014
     Scottish parliament elections, 1999-2011
7 Wales (forthcoming)
8 Shakespeare at war and Shakespeare in love 

1 Brexit and the English Empire
“I’m Irish” said Joe Biden.[1] I know how he feels. National identity is imprinted early and runs deep. I’m Scottish. Like Donald Trump I have a Scottish mother. …
    It is perhaps a whimsical notion. With a wave of the hand it might be said that the English Empire became the British Empire when England became Britain – when English kings and queens became British kings and queens. It was in Shakespeare’s time when Queen Elizabeth I of England died and King James VI of Scotland succeeded to the throne of England (1603). At that point in time England had already acquired Wales and Ireland and was about to be joined with Scotland … Calais, England’s last territory in France, had been ceded in 1564 … and the attempt to establish an American colony at Roanoke in1585 had failed.
     And now today all these countries are players in Brexit. Boris Johnson’s Internal Market Bill “has infuriated the EU and in particular Ireland. Joe Biden, the US president-elect, has also condemned the move and warned that ‘Northern Ireland cannot be a casualty of Brexit’”[2]. Putting this issue together with Scotland ‘voting against’ Brexit, there are concerns that Brexit puts the Union in danger.
     In these chapters we shall look at opinion in ‘the English Empire’ – in other words in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, including in Northern Ireland in the 2015 general election. Otherwise, for opinion in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales at UK general elections we simply refer you to The Middle Opinion. Brexit 2019.
     The first two chapters are more general. The tensions within the English Empire and the tensions between the English Empire and the rest of Europe are a manifestation of a general feature of world society and its history, namely tension and volatility in a multi-level geopolitical structure; and processes of progress and destruction, and independence and incorporation. 
     In the final chapter, just as Boris Johnson seeks peace(?) in Brussels, we recall:
            “In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility;
            But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
            Then imitate the action of the tiger;
            Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
            Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage; ….”
Words attributed to King Henry V as English troops laid siege to Harfleur prior to the battle of Agincourt in 1414 as part of his claim to the throne of France or at least to French territories. Then as now wagers of war rejected the advice of compromisers.
     As in so many of his historical plays, this was ‘Shakespeare at war’. A contrast with the historical plays – some of which were about the English Empire - were the tragedies and comedies: ‘Shakespeare in love’. The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death was in 2016. Experts’ ratings of his plays were on a continuum with two dimensions, ‘Shakespeare at war’ and ‘Shakespeare in love’.

[2] Swinford, Steven. “Johnson offers to scrap law-breaking clauses.” The Times, December 8, 2020: 8.