This speaks to the two main themes in this film, both of which transcend and unite Leave and Remain. First is the sharp divide between Old Politics and New Politics. Second is the far sharper divide between civility and hatred. Old v. New is a running theme, and not just in the sense of young versus old. The film turns this into a moment of profound despair as the white woman lashes out that she is so tired of the high-and-mighty thinking she knows nothing, and forgetting that she has nothing, before breaking down into uncontrollable sobbing.
The major theme of old v. AggregateIQ and Cambridge Analytica offer a new style of politics, and in several unsettling scenes the breathtaking reach and terrifying power of social media advert campaigning reveals just how quickly politics is changing, and just how little control we have over our own opinions. The second, related, theme — civility versus hatred — is slowly built. Initial spats are humdrum, little more than genteel rivalries, as Cummings pushes Banks and Farage to the margins and checkmates the Leave establishment who are perhaps rightly concerned about his maverick style.
If this film has a message, it is not that Leave was the devil and Remain an angel; nor even that this was a struggle between light and dark. But when everyone screams, nobody can hear. A dystopia. A fallen utopia. That utopia was not the EU, nor the UK.
The utopia we mourn for is a world in which politics was polite. Even boring Foster The comfortable world of posters and pollsters, a warm memory to soothe us in the poisonous, jagged politics of screaming abuse and festering hatred — on all sides. This will provide material for Brexit writers, artists, and filmmakers for decades to come. They just yell.
London: Blackwell. Financial Times Brexlit: the new landscape of British fiction , 30 December. Global Discourse , pp. London: Michael Joseph. Glasgow: William Collins.
Chichester: Summersdale. His research interests include nationalism, identity, the EU as empire, and the emergence of new identities in Europe.
He is currently researching the emergence of the New Right in Europe, the changing nature of white identities and masculinity in the West, the role of symbols and icons in shaping Western identities, and the relationship between politics and fiction. His website is www.
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