Heroic Failure - Brexit and the Politics of Pain
'A wildly entertaining but uncomfortable read ... Pitilessly brilliant' JONATHAN COE.
'There will not be much political writing in this or any other year that is carried off with such style' The Times.
A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR.
'A quite brilliant dissection of the cultural roots of the Brexit narrative' David Miliband. 'Hugely entertaining and engrossing' Roddy Doyle. 'Best book about the English that I've read for ages' Billy Bragg.
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.