Jonathan Myerson is a British writer, of radio and television dramas and two novels, Noise (1998) and Your Father (1999). His animated film adaptation of The Canterbury Tales won a Bafta award and was nominated for an Oscar in 1999. He has also been a columnist for The Independent and The Guardian, and is the course director of the Master’s in Creative Writing at City University of London’s Journalism Department. (May 2020)

NYR DAILY

From Brexit to Covid: A Very British Debacle

As it faces the pandemic crisis, while still mired in Brexit talks, Britain today is no longer a country divided by left vs. right or new vs. trad. Instead, this is a nation split between the Won’t-Be-Tolds and the Will-Be-Tolds. The 52 percent who voted Leave in 2016 knew the post-Brexit promises were lies and it didn’t matter. What does matter now to half the country is the chance Never To Be Told, either by experts or anyone else, let alone Johnny Foreigner. This may look akin to American-style libertarianism—the sort of self-assertion that refuses face masks or seeks to “liberate” Minnesota or Michigan—but this British strain is more snobbish, less anti-government, and, arguably, more anti-intellectual for the sake of being anti-intellectual.