Sunday, September 23, 2018

Post Brexit Chaos, 1970s’ Style


Keeping up with the UK news every day, it’s been hard to avoid the latest creaking and groaning of the Brexit debate. Deals crafted at Chequers and destroyed in Salzburg, dire warnings of businesses leaving the country for mainland Europe, and a falling pound.


I feared when the ‘Yes’ vote came in after the referendum that it might prove an impossible mess to disentangle the UK from Europe after 40+ years of union. But any time of upheaval is a rich seam for a writer to mine.

It’s hard not to have your imagination prodded by the possibilities. After all, when you’re constructing a story idea you tend to take a basic concept and give it the ‘what if…’ treatment. Things will certainly change after Brexit, but what if they changed far more than anybody expected?

What if, for example, the UK should collapse into economic chaos and bankruptcy after Brexit. What if the United States, always seen as our ally, decided that this group of islands parked conveniently off the coast of mainland Europe would be better under more direct control. (And, let’s face it, with the present administration in power, almost anything is possible.)

And what if, having come to such a conclusion, the US decided to enforce it by means of military occupation?

Daphne du Maurier

Farfetched? Probably, but don’t look at me. This is the storyline of a book called RULE BRITANNIA. It was the last novel written by Daphne du Maurier, and published by Victor Gollancz in 1972, more as a satire of the increasing dominance of America in British affairs than a treatise against the UK becoming too involved in Europe.

the original 1972 Victor Gollancz edition

RULE BRITANNIA follows Emma, who lives with her grandmother, Mad, and Mad’s adopted children in Cornwall, when radio and TV communication are lost and an American warship suddenly appears off the coast.

All the more remarkable, when you consider it, as back in 1972, Britain had yet to join the Common Market, let alone join and then decide to leave again…

I only made the discovery about du Maurier’s final novel a few days ago, but I’m intrigued enough to start reading it.

the latest Virago modern classics edition, with introduction by Ella Westland

This week’s Word of the Week is euphony, meaning a literary device of words formed or combined so they are sweet sounding or pleasing to the ear. From the Greek meaning ‘sweet-voiced’.

10 comments:

  1. One of the annoying things about ridiculously far-fetched fiction is that something even more far-fetched usually happens in reality!

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    1. Indeed, Michael. I had an idea a while ago for a story that takes place in the near future, and half the more fantastical aspects of it have already happened!

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  2. Wow, Zoe. Who knew? I wonder who owns the movie rights.

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    1. I don't know, but it would make a cracker, wouldn't it?

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  3. I remember when that came out, although I've never read it. I'm rather surprised that Jeff has yet to jump in with a "you phoney" quip. Today, it seems, you just can't depend upon nothin'.

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    1. Some people just are so unreliable, EvKa... :))

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  4. Quip while you're ahead EvKa.

    As for the "Rule Britannia" premise coming true, I hear there are spin-off versions circulating about US Publishing houses with titles like, "China House Rules," and "Little Red Riding in the Hood."

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    1. And you're well e-quip-ped to comment, Jeff...

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  5. Fascinating, considering the genre of the books which come to mind. I found it quite interesting that her book Rebecca has never gone out of print.

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    1. This doesn't surprise me, Maureen! And it has led to a sequel not penned by Ms du Maurier.

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