Philip Pullman says 'UK is done for' in scathing attack on Boris Johnson and Brexit

Greg Evans
Tuesday 14 July 2020 07:45
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Picture:(Tom Nicholson/PinPep/PA/ANDY RAIN/EPA)

Award-winning author Philip Pullman has had his say on Brexit and the current state of British politics claiming that the UK is "done for as a nation".

Speaking to PA News Agency Pullman, who has vocal in his criticism of the government in the past, lashed out at the likes of Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings and feels that the coronavirus lockdown has further exposed just how far they are detached from the general public.

On lockdown, the 73-year-old write of His Dark Materials said:

What it has done to us a country is much more interesting than what it’s done to me. I think that the government and Johnson and Cummings did not expect people to do as they were told. They rather thought that everybody was like themselves, impatient with the rules, not inclined to obey them, and that when they said ‘you’re to stay at home’ they expected us to say ‘up yours mate’, and go to the pub and generally carry on.

Pullman added that he believed that Johnson and Cummings were 'disappointed' that so many people had abided by the rules of lockdown which led to them encouraging people to go out again.

They were surprised and rather disappointed I think, taken aback, by the fact that the British public behaved sensibly. The kind of culture that Johnson comes from with the Bullingdon Club and the mindset Cummings... comes from.

Like destroying things, like messing things up, stirring things and causing trouble and having great amusement watching things happen. Johnson does anyway. And they were disappointed in the British public I think, and that’s why we had this absurd encouraging people to go to the pub, and in effect go out and get drunk and have a great time.

Pullman then turned his attention to the delayed publishing of the report into Russian interference in British politics, which he hopes will reveal the "villainy of Brexit."

I am so looking forward to the official report on this on this business when it comes out in a few years time. I’m also very looking forward to the Russia report - which will get to the bottom, I hope, of the villainy of Brexit. Because they have behaved disgracefully, this government. It has been an absolute travesty of what a decent responsible calm-headed, clear-minded government should be.

He then went on to lament the current British voting system and the validity of the 2016 EU referendum.

We haven’t sorted our constitution for years and years, and for hundreds of years. What authority does a referendum have? We have never gone into this. Shouldn’t every referendum have a threshold - say 66 per cent of something? It’s a major constitutional change, should it be carried just on a simple majority? Shouldn’t there be more supervision of how it was funded and led? 

It’s difficult to change the government we’ve got because we’ve got this voting system that means the majority of people are permanently disenfranchised. If you live in a safe seat it doesn’t matter what you vote. If you are lucky enough to live in a marginal seat you have a tiny chance of influencing the outcome.

But all that will do is get you an MP, it won’t influence the government. We’re going to still made up of the largest party which might not represent the majority of votes.

As a man who has written about fantastical lands where anything is possible, you'd hope that Pullman could see a bright future for the UK outside of the EU but he sadly does not.

It’s a terribly inefficient, rickety, fly-blown, worm-ridden, rotten, sagging, splintering old system we’ve got and it’s high time it was changed. But because it is as it is it won’t be. You’ll never get a majority or a government with a platform of changing the constitution.

I’m sorry to be a pessimist about that, I wish I could be an optimist, but I fear we’re stuck with it and eventually we shall just sink giggling into the sea. We’re done for really as a nation.

The UK officially left the European Union on 31 January, leaving the government until the end of the year to complete a transition period and strike a trade deal.

At the time of writing, no deal has been agreed with the EU and the government has confirmed that they will not be extending talks meaning that Brexit will be fully completed on 31 December.

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