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The Spire and Brexit in the Financial Times

Lord of the Flies has been frequently used by journalists as an allegory for recent global political upheavals. However, Tim Harford, writing in the Financial Timescompares the Brexit negotiations between Britain and the EU to Golding’s novel The Spire. Harford likens Dean Jocelin, blinded by his faith and determination to build a spire on a cathedral with no foundations, to the Brexit minister David Davis, who the writer claims is blinded to the reality of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

Harford calls The Spire a study of monomania – Jocelin is told by various experts, including Master Builder Roger Mason, that the cathedral cannot sustain the spire. Just as logical Piggy is ignored in Lord of the Flies, these experts are also dismissed in The Spire. Harford suggests here that the government also dismiss specialist advice, recalling Michael Gove’s statement that the British people have had enough of experts.

‘And it proves all too easy to ignore those who might restrain [Jocelin]. One faithful priest, “Father Anonymous”, is too boring to notice. In another life, perhaps he would have been an economist.’ (Harford)