- 30 Oct 19
Undoubtedly, there’s a great satire for the Brexit age waiting to be written, but the smug effort of The Cockroach isn’t it.
A sickly strand of UK politics has emerged in recent years, alongside the straightforwardly ugly side of the hardcore Brexiteers. This other contingent features people so self-assured that remain was the right option, they overlook the social issues that caused the Brexit vote. As a result, they resign themselves to a simple conclusion: Brexit = bad.
Ian McEwan’s latest novel is the perfect literary text for this particular echo chamber. It tells the story of a cockroach who – wait for it – wakes up one day as Prime Minister and conspires with his cabinet to force through a referendum that reverses the economic structure of the UK. You could say it’s a bit on the nose. Undoubtedly, there’s a great satire for the Brexit age waiting to be written, but this smug effort isn’t it.