Hari Kunzru’s latest novel is White Tears. (February 2019)

IN THE REVIEW

Fool Britannia

Protesters outside Parliament on the day the House of Commons rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU, January 15, 2019

Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain

by Fintan O’Toole
From the ill-conceived Brexit referendum onward, Britain’s governing class has embarrassed itself. The Remain campaign was complacent, the Leave campaign brazenly mendacious, and as soon as the result was known, most of the loudest advocates for severing ties with the European Union ran away like naughty schoolboys whose cricket ball had smashed a greenhouse window. Negotiations have revealed the pitiful intellectual limitations of a succession of blustering cabinet ministers, the leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition doesn’t appear to want to oppose, and the prime minister has engineered her own humiliation by starting the countdown to Brexit without a plan that could command wide support, resulting in the heaviest parliamentary defeat in history.