Our first report was in 2011, and British society was still deeply traumatised by the economic crash and the beginning of austerity. Our followup February 2016 report reflected a country more at ease with itself – despite austerity, many people were feeling more economically secure and this reflected more relaxed attitudes towards immigration and multiculturalism.
Our third report, in July 2016, was conducted just after Britain voted to leave the European Union and reflected a complete change in attitudes. Those who had been most angry in our February 2016 report, and who voted most heavily to leave the EU, were now the most content. Those had had been content, and who voted most heavily to remain, were now the most angry and resentful. Brexit had polarised Britain.
Fear and HOPE 2017 found this polarisation had continued and, if anything, had deepened. An increasing number of people were more tolerant and open to immigration and multiculturalism, but a quarter of society remained firmly opposed – and their views were hardening.
The findings in Fear and Hope 2019 are clear: Brexit has changed Britain. Old allegiances and affiliations have been ripped up. The anger from social liberals that was so palpable in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 EU Referendum has been replaced by frustration and anger from Brexiteers at our failure to leave.