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Fools’ Paradise


The Voyage of a Ship of Fools from Europe, A Mock-Heroic Poem on Brexit

Published by O Books 27 November 2020

ISBN: 978-1-78904-275-7 (paperback) £10.99/$16.95

ISBN: 978-1-78904-276-4 (e-book) £5.99/$8.99

The Back Cover says

In Fools’ Paradise, a mock-heroic poem on Brexit which complements his masque King Charles the Wise, Nicholas Hagger presents the most important British event since the Second World War: the Brexiteers’ struggle to wrest control of the UK’s laws, borders, money and trade from the EU and turn the UK into a more prosperous paradise. In 16 cantos and an epilogue of heroic couplets with an epic tone he narrates the 2018 Chequers compromise and its aftermath: the EU’s opposition, lack of internal support, looming ‘no deal’ and requests for extensions that keep the UK in the EU. He shows the UK Ship of State as manned by a squabbling crew sailing for an illusory paradise and too riven by division to reach agreement. The dream all were promised seems undeliverable.

In the tradition of the social satire of Dryden and Pope the elevated style is undermined by a recurring image of the Ship of Fools in Sebastian Brant’s 1494 Swiss poem Ship of Fools (Das Narrenschiff), which makes a chaotic voyage from Europe to an illusory paradise across the waves. It becomes apparent that all on the UK Ship of State are to some extent living in a fools’ paradise.

Focusing on the historic decision to leave Europe that if carried through would have immense repercussions for coming generations Nicholas Hagger presents the warring factions on the UK Ship of State and in true Universalist manner foresees a resolution of the conflict in the reconciliation of a coming united world. This is an astonishing poem that approaches the most important national event of our time in the spirit of Tennyson and gets to the heart of the UK’s national predicament.

Nicholas Hagger