British author Jonathan Coe, European Book Prize 2019 winner British author Jonathan Coe, European Book Prize 2019 winnerHello and welcome back to conversation with the movers and shakers of Europe in Brussels, the European book, a price British writer Jonathan code. Thank you very much, England, the same as a witness in the brexit referendum honey uses. If mr. Johnson has his way, he gets re-elected, see in a few days time and pulls his house on January 31st, and I guess we’re just righteous – will no longer be eligible in that. No, absolutely the saddest aspect of brexit are nothing but one of the one of the problems, so I’m very touched by being awarded this price at this particular moment. I see it as a nice gesture of friendship between the between Britain and Brussels in the EU, which comes at a good moment but, as I say, brexit vote by having a good working with you by mention to giving the price for registration glad. That just happens to be me as a backup to menu at the 70s. 80S 90s. With the current perspective, traumatic is the convulsions of brexit. No, I don’t think so in really why writing the book was a kind of compulsion in a way which is not been true for some of my more recent books, my family is very ironic that I’ve wound up being perceived as a kind of political noblest because They remember me from my teenage years being just as Benjamin very uninterested in politics infections, in a much more with his head in the clouds more interested in his enthusiasms for books and film and music and sell them. But I’ve gradually come to realize the politics. For me call pretty big notice, it’s the it’s, the air that we breathe and every so often I’d forces its way into my books, and it does think of these things. You would like to be getting on with her without family life, without personalized, without friendships with that careers without romantic lives. Bucks inescapable, brexit is such a moment, and not just such a moment, but it’s supposed to be the beginning of may be quite a long era. In which political division and convulsion is going to be all around us European company and leave the implementation to the governing class is that part of the problem was made under situation? You know there was some real Whoppers told during the during the referendum campaign, the the 59 million pounds of whatever it was on the side of the bus for the NHS was with one of the most obvious running away. I think this idea that brexit could be quick and easy. I think it was Liam Fox. You said that the trade deal negotiated with the EU would be the easiest in human history, and here we are three and a half is laser still not even not even having reached Step 1 of the negotiations rally. Yeah, that’s! It was once we’ve made, the decision to break could be quick and clean and easy, and of course it’s not going to be any of those things because books leaving the EU minutes was never defines by the leave campaign for the people who voted to leave actually Voted for an Infiniti of different options are narrowing. That down to Walnut is everybody. Well, it is a political impossibility. Infant torrent, motivation that you’ll talk about that he’s talking about was it ever really did it ever really exist, with only have a superficial was that the problem cuz the brexit results some of the rice and hate crime, the increasing violence in the political language, the death Threats to the rape threats towards a very, very ugly, and I think there was a sense among the British people – maybe – and you was going to buy that it couldn’t happen here. We couldn’t be like that spit. Any country can be like that are always that beneath the surface and brexit, unfortunately, one of its worst side effects. It has to has to bring them to the surface and make a political language and Landscape very ugly at times in the last. But you mentioned that for the evolution of of the of the violence in attacks of the 1970s, it’s not necessarily the same when’s the place to discuss Adidas come out to visit us apprised of swelling and violence in the 2019 campaign for the referendum, a description of A terrorist atrocity D, the pub bombings in Birmingham in 1974 and they cost a shadow over the life of one of the main characters – Shadow lost survival, freebooksvampire she’s still dealing with us at the end of Midland British political culture. At the moment, during the course of the referendum and as a result of a political ideology and political feelings which bound up in some ways with the impossible breakfast, a politician was motivated by British Nationalist, and you know these things get forgotten very quickly. I think it was Nigel farage, you said on the the morning of the his victory in the brexit. It was just, it was a. It was a victory that was born without a single shot being fired, and that’s not strictly true. I didn’t think in this is very disrespectful to the memory of Joe Cox terrorist attacks on London Bridge leaders Inspire in you. I find the political landscape in Britain very frustrating and loan, because I think we have a very mediocre sets of political leaders on both sides of the I’m taking it for people like me who have basically on the political left. It’S it’s been a strange experience in the last few years, seeing older vestris like Kenneth and Michael heseltine, who you know who suggested we like stirring the the 1980s when they became prominence seeing them, even if we don’t agree with everything having a kind of Statuary kind Of experience, a kind of idealism which, frankly, I didn’t see in the current generation of politicians who are in half you said divorce Johnson’s turned out to be the most influence, influential satirist of his generation, which parent lack of seriousness is not part of the problem. I’M very fascinated by the trajectory of Thompson began his life as a reporter from Brussels for the Daily Telegraph, but the reports you sent back without serious really at the expense of the EU, and he really did do that because those those reports set the tone for A whole generation of reporting on the workings of the European Union, which is infected, I think, is Wrightwood the precious press ever since language having a having a real political effect. To me, his kind of parable about the I talked a lot about the dangers of British, show complacency and seeing aspects of our national character and being overly pleased with ourselves about the money. I think we’ve always prided British sense of humor when I’m traveling abroad. I find a lot of people will tell me that they love the picture sense of humor, but I assume he’s is a kind of less than yeah in the dangers of not ready when you’re confronted with a difficult political situation, a difficult political problem in an intractable One, it’s very tempting just to turn it into a joke seriously about his NSYNC constructively about it, and you know: he’s he’s blocked his way into Power, really cuz. I think there’s no other way of saying it on the back of his I’m down to the gift for can provide station., Wonderful, British self-deprecation that we will like so much, but you never see how politicians shouldn’t attend high office. I didn’t think in a serious country. Middle England, one smoke the book and brexit itself. You divide really long generation alliance with one of the older characters back to Empire brexit the real end of the British Empire appeal in the leave campaign, slogan which Dominic Cummings came up with and which one maybe won. The campaign full him wasn’t take control of it. Take back Nicole, Hocking back towards a skillfully unspecified. When Britain was maybe more in control of its own destiny. Where is whether that was the moment just before the EU even further back to the second world war or getting further back to the days of Empire? I didn’t know it was such a clever slogan, because it kind of gesture towards all of those things. The novel middle England is in many ways a book about the things, Nostalgia, weaponize it and use it as a very powerful tool as well. But you know as well one criticism of Jeremy corbyn could be that’s his his his mindsets, Benjamin my main character in Middle England, at the end of the novel for the breaking of the mind of his youth. But then the person he’d spoken to who happens to be a Pakistani woman in her early twenties takes one look at them until I don’t want to. I don’t want to go back. I wouldn’t want to be around in that time. That would be a terrible time for like for a person like me, the way it went all of us tempted to look back on frozen tuna brexit tool, the end of the British Empire, in which case maybe it’s the beginning of a national conversation, a painful and Uncomfortable beginning conversation about yourself question, for example, in France, with the yellow vest movement. Is it? Is it the same way of letting off steam go to the French, have more regularly miles between the ocean and the bricks and a big difference which people have chosen? A very specific way of letting off steam very generalized frustration and anger into a very narrow channel, which is the channel of your skepticism and breaking away from the controller Brussels. The discontent that people feel much more General than that’s much more approaches and wide-ranging than that, and when people discover, if they will, that leaving you’re leaving the EU is not really make him feel how much better British author Jonathan Coe won the European Book Prize this year for his novel “Middle England”. He spoke to FRANCE 24 about the adverse effects of Brexit and the shortcomings of the current generation of British political leaders.
Subscribe to France 24 now:
FRANCE 24 live news stream: all the latest news 24/7
Visit our website:
Subscribe to our YouTube channel:
Like us on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter:
Tweets by France24_en