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UK elections: 'We are in for a very rocky and confrontational five years'

UK elections: 'We are in for a very rocky and confrontational five years'
By Isabel Silva
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We spoke to British writer Jonathan Coe - author of "Middle England" - described as a state of the nation novel after Brexit about his views on the UK as it faces elections that could decide its future relationship with the EU.


Brexit has been a source of political frustration, but equally a source of artistic inspiration. Numerous books, documentaries, performances have taken the UK's exit from the EU as a starting point.

Euronews spoke with Jonathan Coe, author of a very successful novel that chronicles with a biting irony the political history of England in the recent years.

Jonathan Coe is the winner of the European Book Prize with "Middle England". It is described as a state of the nation novel after Brexit.

The British writer received the award at a ceremony, in the European Parliament, and Euronews took the opportunity to hear his views about the UK elections.

"I don't think the cycle is going to be broken by this particular election. What Brexit has thrown up is the incompatibility of direct democracy with representative democracy because a majority of people vote to Leave and so far the Parliament has not been able to do it. I and some people think that a citizen's assembly might be a way of bridging this gap."

Before Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, Coe described him as "a person that got where he is by being funny and self-deprecating". So how does he assess him as head of government?

"Well, you know that the British have always responded very warmly to people who make them laugh. Of course Boris Johnson has always delivered on that front because he is larger then life character. But I think that maybe now, since he became Prime minister he needs to revise his persona a little bit because playing the clown is not always what is wanted from a head of state. Mr. Johnson will be narrowly reelected and we are in for a very rocky and confrontational five years."

The UK and the EU will have to sort out a future relation. We don't know how things will go with the customs controls in the isle of Ireland. Scotland may call for a second referendum on independence. We asked Coe whether it would provide material for a fourth volume in his saga?

"There will be a forth volume not because what is happening politically, but because I am very attached to my mane character Benjamin Trotter - he is a kind of alter ego - and I am curious as a writer to find out how he will deal with old age. I think that the story of Brexit is only going to get more complicated, more difficult. Boris Johnson uses this phrase that is going to "get Brexit done" on January 31st, but we all know that you can not get Brexit done overnight. Getting Brexit done is going to take decades and they are going to be very difficult decades, so it will be sometime before I have the perspective to look at that process and put into fiction."

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