A fierce, mordantly funny and perceptive book about the act of national self-harm known as Brexit. A great democratic country tears itself apart, and engages in the dangerous pleasures of national masochism. Trivial journalistic lies became far from trivial national obsessions; the pose of indifference to truth and historical fact came to define the style of an entire political elite; a country that once had colonies redefined itself as an oppressed nation requiring liberation. Fintan O’Toole also discusses the fatal attraction of heroic failure, once a self-deprecating cult in a hugely successful empire that could well afford the occasional disaster. Now failure is no longer heroic – it is just failure, and its terrible costs will be paid by the most vulnerable of Brexit’s supporters.
A new afterword lays out the essential reforms that are urgently needed if England is to have a truly democratic future and stable relations with its nearest neighbours.