'Island adrift': A close-up of British decline Babylia

In June 2016, the United Kingdom experienced a massive political earthquake. The Brexit referendum was the moment when the powerful tectonic plates that had been rubbing against British society unleashed a massive shock, severing the country's connection to the European Union and precipitating it into a multiple crisis, with economic, identity and social difficulties. the world. An island adrift (Peninsula) from…

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In June 2016, the United Kingdom experienced a massive political earthquake. The Brexit referendum was the moment when the powerful tectonic plates that had been rubbing against British society unleashed a massive shock, severing the country's connection to the European Union and precipitating it into a multiple crisis, with economic, identity and social difficulties. the world. An island adrift (Peninsula), by Ana Carbajosa, is a journalistic journey that depicts the causes and future of this multiple crisis that marks the current decline of the United Kingdom. As the writer, a journalist in this newspaper, points out, these causes have deep roots, and their consequences are slow-burning suffering.

The book is a mosaic of dozens of evocative pieces – characters representing a wide spectrum of British society and places fascinating, sad or disturbing, but always interesting – organized into a conceptual triptych, with an emphasis on the formation of elites, in depth. England, and in nationalist tensions in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The picture formed by the mosaic pieces clearly shows the ugly face of those forces that were friction in the ground: inequality – sometimes obscene -, insufficient social mobility, hypnosis of identity, and discontent with politics.

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With the help of Carbajosa – who currently heads the Planeta Futuro department and who previously worked, among other tasks, as a correspondent for the newspaper EL PAÍS in Germany – we will delve into the impressive and repulsive cities of Eton and Oxford, in the gloomy cities of the ancient era. The red belt of northern England, in the exceptional capital of the Kingdom and in its countries with strong motivations for secession. We get an actor's point of view and a lively gallery of characters, from the privileged boy who heads the Oxford Debating Club to the struggling former Rotherham dancer who picks up the set of pans she received as a gift at a supermarket social, and who continues to walk with his neck erect; From prominent journalists like Lionel Barber to politicians with interesting careers like Ken Livingstone or Rory Stewart.

It is interesting to note while reading that although the book depicts a particular country and is concerned with the characteristics of its history, there are elements that relate to the turmoil of other Western societies. It may not be the case that Britain’s exit from the European Union was the beginning of an international political phase that would later witness the successes of Trump, Meloni, Wilders and others, each with their own characteristics, each supported by specific reasons, but each of them riding a wave of discomfort among broad segments of Western societies. Related to frustrated expectations, skepticism about globalization, nostalgia, and identity impulses in response.

An island adrift It contains the virtues of journalism in the noblest sense of the profession. Carbajosa – also an author Angela Merkel, Chronicles of an Era (Peninsula) and Tribes of Israel (RBA) – He builds his analysis through an approach to proximate and important reality, which includes nuance and complexity, avoids Manichaeism, and which, without claiming to be comprehensive, is broad and persistent. It is a novel with accessible language, exuding an authentic curiosity, far from the constraints of ideological structures. The author, who lives in the United Kingdom, describes a country in serious crisis, but in her story there is an admiration for a democracy with unusual features, from an independent judiciary to a vibrant parliamentarism, and an apparently high-quality press. The distinction in the world owes to the enormous energy of civil society, its often fluid multiculturalism, its vibrant cultural landscape, and its hopeful wrong-righting mechanisms. An island adrift It is a book that allows us to better understand the present-day United Kingdom, and contains lessons of interest for other Western societies.

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