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There's a new ideology emerging that's seen as an antidote for Brexit and Trump

Supporters gather prior to a Donald Trump rally at the The Northwest Washington Fair and Event Center on May 7, 2016 in Lynden, Washington.
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Supporters gather prior to a Donald Trump rally at the The Northwest Washington Fair and Event Center on May 7, 2016 in Lynden, Washington.

Britons will be forgiven for still being a little anxious over the future of their country after voting to quit the European Union (EU) in June.

There's not been much to chew on in the weeks following a referendum that seemed like the U.K. had hit the reset button on globalism itself.

But, amid the vast reams of commentary and political noise from the newspapers, I've noted a new buzzword that's been thrust into the mainstream by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

'His core view is right'

His idea of "responsible nationalism," which he described in an opinion piece in the Financial Times last month, suggests that the primary responsibility of any government is - shock, horror - the welfare of its own citizens. As opposed to some abstract vision of globalism.

He takes aim at the policies of the EU and the economic forces that have led to the rise of U.S. presidential candidate, Donald Trump. He even accepts some of the blame himself, conceding in a later radio interview that he is part of the global establishment that Trump is railing against.

"His core view is right ... there are limits to what we can expect from international cooperation. Governments always have to focus inwardly," Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, told CNBC via telephone.

I'm told Summers' idea is an old thesis of his that has been angled away from central banking to lawmaking. Nonetheless, the idea seems pertinent to the mammoth task facing the U.K.'s new prime minister, who is tasked with guiding the country out of the EU. And it is presumably what Summers wants Hillary Clinton to aim at if she beats Trump to the White House in November.

The new divide in rich countries

I found the referendum a rather ugly and shocking affair, but there must be a major silver lining for any U.K. citizen, no matter what box they ticked. There were wide divisions between Britons and disenfranchised towns highlighted in many parts of the country, but that surely cannot be swept under the carpet now? I have a feeling a vote to remain in the EU would have meant business as usual.

We now have a Conservative politician as prime minister that sounds like she is a member of the opposition Labour Party with her promises of a "country that works for everyone". In the words of The Economist last month, "the new divide in rich countries is not between left and right but between open and closed."

Jonathan Portes, director of the U.K.'s National Institute of Economic and Social Research, is quick to point out that what we have from Prime Minister Theresa May is "just words." But he is hopeful it might mean a change from the "gimmicky policies" of previous leaders.

"The U.K. has not done well in developing some parts of the country, specifically some coastal towns and northern towns," he told CNBC via telephone. "In the Autumn Statement we'll see that intent."

Summers may have been vague in his article; he may have talked of policies that any government in the EU is able to achieve in the current setup. But, if nationalism does fully reemergence in the coming years, I would like to think that it will be in its most "responsible" of forms.

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