Philip Pullman says UK ‘is done for as a nation’ but hopes Russia report will expose government

PUBLISHED: 12:13 13 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:27 13 July 2020

Philip Pullman on Brexit and the Russia Report. Photograph: PA.

Philip Pullman on Brexit and the Russia Report. Photograph: PA.

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Award-winning author Sir Philip Pullman has warned that the UK is ‘done for as a nation’ and that it will ‘sink giggling into the sea’ because it will continually reject reformed politics.

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Pullman’s pessimistic analysis was part of the author’s latest blistering attacks on post-Brexit politics in Britain, as he hit out at Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson over the coronavirus response and the UK’s departure from the EU.

He claimed that the lockdown has shown the government misunderstands the country when the public obeyed the rules whilst people like Cummings ignored them.

He explained to the PA News Agency: “What it has done to us a country is much more interesting than what it’s done to me. I think that the government and Johnson and Cummings did not expect people to do as they were told.

“They rather thought that everybody was like themselves, impatient with the rules, not inclined to obey them, and that when they said ‘you’re to stay at home’ they expected us to say ‘up yours mate’, and go to the pub and generally carry on.


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“They were surprised and rather disappointed I think, taken aback, by the fact that the British public behaved sensibly. The kind of culture that Johnson comes from with the Bullingdon Club and the mindset Cummings... comes from. Like destroying things, like messing things up, stirring things and causing trouble and having great amusement watching things happen. Johnson does anyway.

“And they were disappointed in the British public I think, and that’s why we had this absurd encouraging people to go to the pub, and in effect go out and get drunk and have a great time.”

Pullman said that he looked forward to both the inevitable inquiry and the Russia report to expose Johnson.

“I am so looking forward to the official report on this on this business when it comes out in a few years time.

“I’m also very looking forward to the Russia report - which will get to the bottom, I hope, of the villainy of Brexit. Because they have behaved disgracefully, this government. It has been an absolute travesty of what a decent responsible calm-headed, clear-minded government should be.”

Giving his views on Brexit, he said the country needs to review its constitution, in particular on the voting system in elections and referendums.

“We haven’t sorted our constitution for years and years, and for hundred of years.

“What authority does a referendum have? We have never gone into this. Shouldn’t every referendum have a threshold - say 66% of something? It’s a major constitutional change, should it be carried just on a simple majority? Shouldn’t there be more supervision of how it was funded and led?

But he warned: “It’s difficult to change the government we’ve got because we’ve got this voting system that means the majority of people are permanently disenfranchised. If you live in a safe seat it doesn’t matter what you vote.

“If you are lucky enough to live in a marginal seat you have a tiny chance of influencing the outcome. But all that will do is get you an MP, it won’t influence the government.

“We’re going to still made up of the largest party which might not represent the majority of votes.”

Pullman issued a stark warning about the future of the UK.

He continued: “It’s a terribly, inefficient, rickety, fly-blown, worm-ridden, rotten, sagging, splintering old system we’ve got and it’s high time it was changed.

“But because it is as it is it won’t be.

“You’ll never get a majority or a government with a platform of changing the constitution.

“I’m sorry to be a pessimist about that, I wish I could be an optimist, but I fear we’re stuck with it and eventually we shall just sink giggling into the sea.

“We’re done for really as a nation”.

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