Politics: Brexit, Trump and Populism

Ref: C2420018

The course will look at the causes and consequences of the Brexit referendum. Was it about 'taking back control'? The revenge of the left-behind, or a revolt against the experts? Was it about loss of identity, or hard economics? Or did migration trump everything? In 1975 Britain voted more than 2 to 1 to stay in the EC, but in 2016 we voted, 52% to 48%, to leave: what changed, us or them? We'll look at how Trump became America's most improbable President, and the upsurge of populist, anti-establishment parties across Europe. What's everybody so cross about? Have our governments lost the plot? Have fun finding out.

Course aim

The course aims to help make sense of what is going on in our politics and society, looking especially at what led to Brexit, but with an eye on the election of Donald Trump and the upsurge of populism in several European countries.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand and discuss with both Leavers and Remainers the reasons that led Britain to vote in 2016 to leave the European Union.
  • Understand why politicians and pundits disagree about what Britain's future relationship with the EU should be - and about what the 2016 vote actually meant.
  • Understand the choices that remain to be made as the date for Brexit approaches.
  • Understand and evaluate the arguments both of those who argue that to revisit the outcome of the Brexit referendum would be undemocratic and of those who argue that democracy requires that voters must always have the right to change their minds.
  • Understand and discuss the underlying political and economic changes in Britain and other advanced countries - including similarities and differences - which have led to Brexit, the Trump Presidency and the rise of populists in Europe.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

Politics: Brexit, Trump and Populism


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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