British author Jonathan Coe, European Book Prize 2019 winner

Jonathan Coe, British author and European Book Prize 2019 winner.
Jonathan Coe, British author and European Book Prize 2019 winner. FRANCE 24

British author Jonathan Coe won the European Book Prize this year for his novel "Middle England". He spoke to FRANCE 24 about the adverse effects of Brexit and the shortcomings of the current generation of British political leaders.


Coe shared his thoughts on the consequences of Brexit. "There come these moments where politics just becomes inescapable and I think that Brexit is such a moment and it's also the beginning of maybe quite a long era in which political division and convulsion is going to be all around us; not just in the UK but in every European country [...] What leaving the EU meant was never defined by the Leave campaign, so the people who voted to leave actually voted for an infinity of different options and narrowing that down to one that satisfies everybody is a political impossibility."

"Some of the things that have come out after the Brexit results - the rise in hate crime, the increasing violence in the political language, the death threats towards politicians, the rape threats towards female politicians - they are very, very ugly. And I think there was a sense among the British people maybe in years gone by that it couldn't happen here; we couldn't be like that. But any country can be like that actually. These ugly impulses are always there beneath the surface and Brexit, unfortunately one of its worst side effects has (been) to bring them to the surface and make our political language and landscape very ugly at times in the last few years", Coe told FRANCE 24.

Presented by Luke Brown

Produced by Isabelle Romero


Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Take international news everywhere with you! Download the France 24 app