Probably no story ever written explains the current state of affairs in England better than Dickens, “Bleak House.”
To summarize, Bleak House is the story of a man (Jarndyce) who dies having left two wills. It portrays the English court system as a cluster fuck of over regulation, absurd laws, and crooked lawyers.
The current arguments over Brexit are as Dickensian as they come.
The English people clearly want their country back, or at least, what they think their country is. Having been fed a continuous line of bullshit about “empire” and an endless parade of royals, they believe they should go it on their own.
Maybe they can and maybe they can’t.
Though one thing is certain. They’re not happy with the endless parade of foreigners that are getting residence in England. London has a Muslim mayor and only 45% of the population is English.
One of the central themes to Bleak House is the inability of the arrogant, rhetoric addicted Brits to come to a decision.
This has been true of England for 100 years. All the while Churchill babbled on about persevering, they were being chucked out of Singapore, India, France and voluntarily leaving Australia and Canada. Now they are cornered. The people want to be English, but the hedge fund loving Theresa May and the rest of their will vote for money house of commons will have none of it.
Dickens was, arguably, the best British author of his time.
Some would argue the greatest of all time. But like many great Brits, he knew hardship. His father, forced into debtor’s prison due to profligate spending, would be perfectly described in another Dickens masterpiece, “Little Dorrit.” In it, he again describes the absurd British legal system, it’s arrogant leaders seemingly never growing tired of listening to their own voices.
I’ve always thought that the British felt a life constantly talked about, overanalyzed, criticized and finally yearned for was not worth living. Brexit is that in spades.
The question for England though is not whether they can make a break, but whether they can survive one. This isn’t 1825 and their navy doesn’t rule the seas. A free and independent England is a very small country.
In both Bleak House and Little Dorrit, the heroine finds love and riches in the end.
England should be so lucky.
Notes on Bleak House and Little Dorrit.
Both series have been produced masterfully in Andrew Davies adaptation of the novels for BBC. It’s hard to imagine script writing and character development better than what Davies produced.
The acting is also incredible. You’ll recognize several of the actors from popular series like Pride and Prejudice, Endeavor, The Secret Garden and the US PBC production of Les Miserabe’. There are too many to name individually.