The latest events in “this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England” put this belief in doubt, for Britain’s decision to walk out of the European Union (EU) is based as much on economic reasons as on ultra-nationalism.

It is the belief spread mainly by the right-wing forces that the “blessed plot” is being drowned in a sea of immigrants because of the relaxed EU rules which fanned the wind behind the sail of the quitters.

And, as in all such cases ranging from Shiv Sena to United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), the fear of losing jobs to outsiders have added fuel to the flames of xenophobia.

Although the Conservatives have always been wary of immigrants, they were spooked this time by the ultra-conservative, anti-EU UKIP to put their hearts on the sleeve by promising a referendum on staying in the EU or leaving it.

The assurance may have enabled the Tories to win, which they might have done any way since Labour was being led by the unprepossessing leftist Jeremy Corbyn. But they were saddled in the process with the burden of referendum.

Having just won the Scottish referendum, there might have been little doubt about winning the next one as well. But the UKIP and other Little Englanders, including the Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party, seem to have touched a chord in English, if not British, hearts by winning the vote on cutting adrift from the rest of the continent.

The right-wingers are happy by giving their country an Independence Day on June 23 by their adventurism which may have been partly fuelled by the fear of asylum-seekers coming from Syria and Iraq. But the greater fear now is of Britain staying together in the first place.

The first to raise the possibility of another referendum is Scotland which now believes that it has a fair chance of breaking away from the rest of the country in the midst of the current turmoil.

In any event, having voted overwhelmingly for staying in the EU – like the city of London – the Scots want either to break away from Britain or remain in the EU, which will create a piquant situation of a part of a country defying the referendum,

While the Englishmen on the far-right mull over this strange fallout from their xenophobic misadventure, they will also have to consider pacifying the Sinn Fein which wants a merger of Ireland with Northern Ireland to form a Great Ireland at the cost of Great Britain.

Evidently, the latter is moving far away from the times when the sun did not set on the British empire. Now it is threatening to cover in darkness parts of the “blessed plot” itself.

It goes without saying that the Brexiteers did not anticipate such a tumultuous fallout. Like all believers in insularity, they presumed that everyone in the country will favour retreating behind the moat of the English channel and “isolate” the continent, like the old joke on foggy days, by pulling up the drawbridges.

It is evident that these blinkered Englishmen took it for granted that everyone in Scotland and Northern Ireland thought like them. Now they have realized that globalization has ushered in a new world. As President Obama said, the “extraordinary benefits” offered by globalization are also accompanied by “concerns and fears”.

These are not only about local trade and commerce being unable to face foreign competition – the customary apprehension of protectionists – but also of local culture being swamped by alien influence.

Both in the fields of commerce and culture, therefore, the Little Englanders have their fears. Hence, their paranoia about the red double-deckers of London being phased out along with the Englishmen’s favourite diet of fish and chips.

True, Englishmen have long been worried about the impact of the European ways on their traditional lifestyle, including fox-hunting although the “sport” was described by Oscar Wilde as “the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable”.

But the possibility of the nation breaking up because of the decision to cut off links with the EU has led to the UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, being reminded of his pre-referendum promise of calling for another vote if the outcome was 52:48 for remaining in the UK.

Since the vote is 51.9:48.1. there is reason for another test of popular opinion, especially when the young are said to be feeling that they have been led down by the elderly.

Whether or not there is a second throw of the dice, it is obvious that referendums should be avoided unless there is a deep and palpable division on an urgent issue. (IPA Service)