Sunday 18 September 2016

Brexit: a lesson from literature

Another book I read on my holidays was Snow by the Turkish Nobel prize winning novelist, Orhan Pamuk. 

Published in 2004, it tells the story of a coup in the city of Kars, mounted by a demagogic but rather past-it actor. Pamuk writes about how local people support him because they believe he will stop immigrants coming in, working for low wages and stealing their jobs.

A lot of folk in Kars are disappointed with life, and different people have different views of the land of milk and honey that will follow the coup. Some think it will end immigration, others that the unlicensed slaughter of animals will be stopped; others still that corrupt politicians and business people will be called to account.

They do not understand that those mounting the coup do not have the slightest interest in these things, and just want to stop political parties they dislike from winning an upcoming election. In the end, the coup fails.

* Fact. Leading Brexiter Boris Johnson used to campaign unsuccessfully for Turkey to be admitted to the EU. Then he discovered he was anti-EU, and started to say it would be a very bad thing for Turkey to be let in, claiming this was about to happen, even though he knew it wasn't.

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