As a non-British EU citizen living in the UK and likely to be affected by Brexit if and when it happens, I've had to spend a few weeks reading up on the referendum and all the other crazy things happening in the world right now, so I was glad to get the opportunity to write up what I think I understood in a feature for Current Biology. (Always handy when obsessive reading magically turns into valuable research.)
The theme that links Brexit to the rise of Trump, Le Pen, and other populist candidates appears to be that developments of the last three decades like scientific and social progress, European unification, globalisation, etc. have left far too many people behind, who now constitute the angry voters that are ready to elect populists offering reactionary recipes and simple lies in response to the complex questions of today's world.
For a somewhat more detailed analysis, read:
Angry voters may turn back the clock
Current Biology Volume 26, Issue 15, pR689–R692, 8 August 2016
Large pro-EU demonstrations, unheard of before the referendum, were held in London and other cities after the vote. The narrow margin of the result as well as the false promises that were withdrawn the day after the vote led to calls for a new referendum based on an actual plan of how an exit might work. (Photo: höRticuLtora/flickr.)