Meet the EU Law lecturer whose Brexit video went viral

He said the Leave campaign is “one of the most dishonest campaigns this country has ever seen”


In the lead up to the recent referendum – clear facts were very hard to come by, leaving many young people in a state of confusion. One lecturer set out to change this – uploading a video stating the facts and pushing forward his opinion, Britain is better in the European Union.

Professor Dougan criticised the leave campaign naming it as “one of the most dishonest campaigns this country has ever seen”, which could result in an “untold damage to our democracy”.

The video totalled over seven million views and is still growing, receiving praise and – of course – a fury of backlash that comes with anything put on the internet.

I spoke to the professor about the state of the country, in light of the recent vote to leave, and how his life has changed since becoming viral.

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For those that don’t know, who are you?

I am a professor of European Law at the University of Liverpool which means my job is to take academic legal research in the field of EU law. Its a nice job.

What would you say to young voters who didn’t get the result they were hoping for?

I’d say that the future belongs to them and its probably been a useful lesson for all of us, not just for young voters. Our society is more complicated than we sometimes think, its more fractured than we sometimes think. Our political life is sometimes capable of malfunctioning in ways that might come as a bit of a surprise to those of us who still have a lot of faith in the ability of our public institutions. But the future belongs to young people and they’re the people who will be voting in the future. I think in a way this referendum has given them a good target to aim for. We shouldn’t tolerate a political system that is based on dishonesty and self interest.

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How do you think the lead up to the referendum was dishonest?

On virtually every major issue that was addressed in this referendum campaign, the leave campaign offered analysis and explanations which were at the very best misrepresentations and at the very worst just down right pretty dishonest and i think thats pretty bad.

Has life changed for you since going viral?

Not enormously, not really, I’ve gotten huge numbers of emails, the vast majority of people saying either thank you for helping perform a useful service to your fellow citizens or expressing their concerns. Their anxiety about what might happen to their families and country in the future and a small minority of extremely angry and abusive and mildly threatening emails, but to be honest I mostly find them more entertaining than threatening.

Do you think you’ll continue making videos in the future?

Yeah. We’re launching a little website – there are lots of really talented people with specialisms in migration and constitutional law and in trade law and so some of my colleagues at Liverpool have already started making short videos to post online that address these specific issues.