Tuesday 13 September 2022

What can a top crime writer tell us about Brexit?

Quite a lot, it turns out. 

I have just finished the American James Ellroy's compulsive hard-boiled novel The Big Nowhere (Arrow 1990), set in Los Angeles during the McCarthy era, when lives were ruined by hysterical false accusations thundered at anyone who dared to espouse vaguely left-wing views. Condemned as 'Commies', many lost their jobs and some their liberty.

Ellroy's novel tells the story of a number of people supposed to be public servants, who don't give a damn about the public and instead use the mendacious Red Scare to advance their own careers.

But one policeman sees through the tissue of falsehood: 'A big fuckload of lies glued together to prove a single theory that was easy to believe because believing was easier than wading through the glut of horsehit to say, "Wrong."'

Could be a summary of what Brexit has done to the UK and of why no leading Conservative or Labour politician seems willing to tell the truth about it.

Fun fact: Senator Joseph McCarthy was eventually unmasked as a liar, and became one of only a handful of senators to be formally censured by a vote in the upper house.

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