Sunday, April 7, 2019

Brexit—A Dystopian Take

Zoë Sharp

I am not noted for my ability to look on the bright side of things. In fact, sometimes it might be said that my glass is not only half empty, but I’ve just dropped and smashed said glass, then either lacerated myself on the broken shards, or used one of them as an improvised weapon.

If you lean towards the noir end of the crime writing spectrum rather than the rosy end, this can be an advantage, however. Most story ideas come to me when I take a snippet of news, a piece of information, or an obscure fact, and go “But what if it all went Horribly Wrong…?”

Mix the increasing popularity of dystopian fiction together with the farce that is the current process of the UK trying to extricate itself from the European Union, and the creative wheels start to spin so fast they threaten to burn out the bearings.

When the referendum was held back in 2016, 72.2% of those who were eligible to vote actually did so. Of those, 52% voted to leave. It has to be agreed that this made it a pretty close run thing. Even in the comedy madhouse that is, currently, the House of Commons, I understand that a ‘supermajority’ is required for changes to important legislation such as the constitution. A supermajority is generally taken to be two-thirds.

As with all things, there will be some members of the population who have no particular feelings one way or the other on the matter, and those who are absolutely passionate supporters of their own stance. So far, we’ve had protests and marches and petitions. The BBC Parliament channel has never had so many new viewers tuned in. The machinations enacted in the chamber have been likened to a season of Game of Thrones.

As I write this, Brexit has been delayed but we’re not quite sure for how long. More chaos reigns, as the Passport Office were geared up to start issuing non-EU passports from March 29th.

So, if I was exploring the situation with a view to writing a dystopian novel, there are so many angles of approach I’d be spoilt for choice which road to go down. Social unrest, rioting in the streets, breakaway republics being formed by Wales, Scotland and even Cornwall, quite apart from the situation between the north and the south in Ireland. Sea blockades, shortages, a thriving black market, poverty, corruption, and crime. 

Of course, things may go through and all turn out wonderfully, but where’s the decent dystopian novel synopsis in that?

This week’s Word of the Weekis chronophobia, which means fear of the future or of the passing of time. From the Greek chronos, meaning time, and phobos, meaning flight. From the same rootswe also have chronomentrophobia, which is the fear of clocks and watches.

May 2
NOIR AT THE BAR NEWCASTLE—the Town Wall pub, Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5HX
Doors open 19:00
Organised by the inimitable Vic Watson, the line-up is Neil BroadfootMik BrownAshley ErwinDerek FarrellJónína LeósdóttirGytha LodgeJudith O’ReillyZoë SharpLilja Sigurðardóttir, plus a wildcard chosen on the night.

May 9-12
Friday, May 10, 13:40-14:30 Contemporary Issues: Reflecting How We Live Candy DenmanPaul GitshamCara HunterAmanda RobsonZoë Sharp (Participating Moderator)
Saturday, May 11, 11:20-12:10 Ten Year Stretch: The CrimeFest Short Story Anthology Peter GuttridgeCaro RamsayZoë SharpMichael Stanley (Stan Trollip), Kate Ellis (Participating Moderator)
Sunday, May 12, 09:30-10:20 The Indie Alternative Beate BoekerAdam CroftBarry FaulknerLynn FlorkiewiczZoë Sharp (Participating Moderator)

June 7
Meet the Author—Thornton Library, Victoria Road East, Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire FY5 3SZ
Friday, June 07, 10:30-11:30


  1. Thank God everything is rosy over here on the left side of the Atlantic. Or is it the right? Looking forward to coming to Bristol from NYC on the way to Greece. I know, that sounds like a crisis tourism trifecta itinerary.

  2. Is it true that the French Foreign Minister has called her kitten Brexit. It meows to get out the door, but when she opens the door, it doesn't go.

  3. Thank you, Zoe, (and Caro) for the laughs! Yes. I am laughing. You see I view the current trends as the death-throes of the old white patriarchy and the tactics of the right as acts of desperation. They know deep down that they are dinosaurs. So they are doing everything they can to slow down the arrival of the inevitable. They are making a mess now. But they will not win in the long run. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. I love you tomorrow.

  4. Anna Maria, your description sounds like the U.S. Senate and House elders.