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For Brexit supporters, a cautionary tale from Henry VIII Add to ...

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In order to understand Brexit properly, you need to look back in history and the best precedent is probably more than four centuries ago when Henry VIII dissolved England’s ties with the Church of Rome.

Brexiters love the analogy, in which Brussels plays the part of the Vatican City and the European Commission is a conclave of scheming cardinals with Jean-Claude Juncker as its pope. It plays all the right notes for the anti-EU partisans – a foreign and mysterious bureaucracy with imperial ambition making rules against which there is no appeal The idea that Brexit is a sort of rerun of the Protestant Reformation was mooted in the runup to Britain’s referendum on EU membership and it is gaining traction. You might wonder what an archaic religious quarrel has to do with political rows in the European Union. However, both are about the relationship between individuals and established authority and some people think that the roots of euroskepticism lie in Protestant rebellion against a centralizing and overbearing Catholic elite.

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