Brexit & the Children of Men

S M Chen
4 min readApr 1, 2021

One of the writers whose works I try to read regularly on is Umair Haque. He’s a prolific Pakistani economist living in England. I find myself in basic agreement with him.

I don’t know if his postings contributed in any way to the outcome of the 2020 US Presidential election but, if they did, many of us owe him a debt of gratitude.

One of his recent postings was this:

It details how wrong Britain was to vote for Brexit and the disastrous consequences of that decision to the island nation. He roundly castigates those responsible.

As someone living in England, he is more acutely aware of those consequences than some of the rest of us.

One of the reader responses to his essay referenced ‘Children of Men,’ a 1992 futuristic, dystopian, sci-fi novel by P D James. That derivative work was made into a 2006 movie with the same title by auteur Alfonso Cuaron and featured actor Clive Owen as protagonist Theo Faron, an apathetic, disillusioned former political activist.

I tried to access excerpts of the book, with limited success. What I found was deeply written but did not closely conform to the film (or vice-versa). But I did not read the whole book; and there’s such a thing as artistic license, which I suspect Mr. Cuaron used to maximal effect.

I can see why the writer of the response mentioned ‘Children of Men.’ I thought it a profound film that echoed some of the sentiment presumably inherent in the thinking of some Brexiteers.

Movie poster

Things (the matter of infertility) did not come to pass as writer P D James envisioned and perhaps predicted. But other features of the film (xenophobia, nationalism, detention camps, the pitting of ‘us’ against ‘them,’ ‘them’ being the other, those not fair-skinned Brits) reminded me of what the USA was like under the prior Administration.

The vile treatment of foreigners, the lack of humanity, the penchant for violence, was all on full display. Britain has become a police state.