Would Brexiters or Remainers have preferred the 18th Century?

Listening to all the ongoing arguments between Brexiters and Remainers about leaving the EU, I have noticed a remarkable similarity with the topical issues of the Eighteenth Century.

Before becoming our king, George I was the Elector, i.e. ruler, of the state of Hanover, which he continued to be throughout his reign, as did his descendants, until Queen Victoria was prevented from becoming ruler of Hanover, due to different rules of succession. For many people, the connection with a country in continental Europe was a good thing. George had experience of government and of continental politics. He continued to have access to other European rulers and politicians, some of whom might have been less well known to most British politicians.

On the other hand, this connection brought Britain into conflicts which were essentially Hanover’s problems, not ours, such as Hanover’s disputes with Sweden . At least, that is how it looked to the Brexiters of his day, although others regarded Swedish aggression as something Britain needed to oppose anyway.  That is an issue which becomes relevant in Highwaypersons, Book II, The King’s Justice, to be published later this year.

George was also welcomed by some because he was seen as more modern scientific, and constitutional than the Stewarts, his main rivals for the throne. This reminds me of the concerns I have heard from some Remainers, that a post-Brexit Britain could become too friendly with undemocratic countries such as China and Saudi Arabia. Of course, those people tend to omit any reference to such places as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

As the Eighteenth Century is the setting for Highwaypersons, and as the conflict with the Jacobites is a theme running through all the books, there are chapters where you could well imagine you were reading something far more up to date. Of course, these books are not primarily about politics. They are full of adventures, mysteries, romances and personal dramas. Whether you are a Brexiter or  a Remainer,  I hope you will find plenty to enjoy in them.

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