Stephen Hawking: ‘The way Britain shares its wealth led to Brexit’

Physicist Stephen Hawking © Lucas Jackson
Physics genius Stephen Hawking has called for a reassessment of how wealth is viewed in Britain in the wake of the UK’s vote to exit the European Union.

In an opinion piece for the Guardian newspaper on Friday, Hawking said it would be “foolish to ignore the role that wealth does and doesn’t play in our society” in the aftermath of the June 23 referendum.

The professor, who suffers with motor neuron disease, said although he was stung by the ‘Leave’ vote: “If I’ve learned one lesson in my life it is to make the best of the hand you are dealt.

Now we must learn to live outside the EU, but in order to manage that successfully we need to understand why British people made the choice that they did. I believe that wealth, the way we understand it and the way we share it, played a crucial role in their decision.

He said wealth has an important role in academic terms, as the EU provided grants for science and for him personally in terms of medical care for his severe disability.

New enterprises and “cathedral projects” are now being invested in and more must follow, said Hawking. He described these as “the modern equivalent of the grand church buildings, constructed as part of humanity’s attempt to bridge heaven and Earth.

These ideas are started by one generation with the hope a future generation will take up these challenges.

These could help address a number of “global and serious” issues like “climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.

Hawking warned that failing to deal with these issues would hand a victory to “the forces that contributed to Brexit, the envy and isolationism not just in the UK but around the world that spring from not sharing.

If we do this, then there is no limit to what humans can achieve together.