My goal to learn something new every day
British TV broadcaster Channel 4 recently showed a fictional documentary, imagining what would happen if a relatively recent British political party won the general election, which is coming up in a few months. The party is called Ukip, and is politically far-right. One of their key pledges is to ensure that the UK leaves the European Union, hence the name: UK Independence Party. David Cameron, the current British Prime Minister, once described Ukip members as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”.
The Channel 4 programme gained quite a lot of coverage in the press before and after it was aired, and also generated a number of complaints that the programme was biased. It was while I was reading through one of the articles that I came across this term, which I’d not heard about before: Brexit. A quick search on Google finds around 433,000 results for the word.
Wikipedia doesn’t have an individual page for the term (yet), but it does appear briefly on this page which describes the proposed referendum on Britain leaving the EU. The Guardian says this about it: ““Brexit” is shorthand for British exit from the European Union.” Currently, most media sources are still including the term in quotation marks, suggesting that it hasn’t been fully accepted yet.
It appears that the term was coined by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), who decided to offer a prize to the person who could come up with the best plan for the UK leaving the EU. In 2013, the IEA chose Iain Mansfield as the winner, who won the€100,000 prize. According to the IEA website, his submission suggested that the UK should join the European Free Trade Association “as well as for the introduction of a ‘Great Repeal Bill’ to bring about a comprehensive review and, where appropriate, repeal, of EU regulations. ”
I’m sure that a referendum on leaving the EU will feature heavily during the campaigns in the lead-up to the election, so we can probably expect to see Brexit crop up more often. In most of the examples of the word that I came across, it was used as a noun. Brexiting doesn’t seem as popular, although, Google shows 60 results so far.
So perhaps we’ll soon be seeing more of brexiting, and possibly even brexited some time soon, although I’m not too sure about the latter.