Finding friendship in times of Brexit

Lee Child, Jojo Moyes, Kate Mosse e Ken Follett

On this rainy Sunday of november I met renowned authors Jojo Moyes, Kate Mosse, Ken Follett and Lee Child in Milan for their Friendship Tour. It was Follett’s idea to reach Milan, Madrid, Berlin and Paris to tell his and his fellows’ readers that Brexit - the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union - is not their sentiment. That could easily look a smart business move, or a quixotic liberal call, but Follett’s squad should be heard anyway. Why? I try to answer here with quick notes, after their press conference.

The Friendship Tour Manifesto

Four lessons (+1) from four novelists

1. Boundaries change, people do not

Kate Mosse (the most brillant of the four, IMHO) said that history teaches us that boundaries and reigns can change, put people keeps being the same. We share the same stories and the same sentiments.

2. When people are scared, they look for an enemy

Mosse also said that always in History when men and women are in difficult times, they reach for what they know and look for an enemy outside. This began before the Brexit referendum. But young people can change things, as they always do.

3. Politicians should read more

Child and Moyes talked about the importance of reading for the decision-makers. We would have a better world if politicians would read more - said Moyes - because stories teach you to be in someone else’s shoes.

4. Alternative futures ahead

Thinking about Catalunya and Scotland, Ireland and even Norhern Italy, Follett gave us a suggestive dystopic idea for (a possible) future: nations would divide and we will live in a world with wealthy liberal democracies and hopefully-irrelevant illiberal states. That’s not his wish, he said, just a story.

5. Where we came from

The cultural boom of the Elizabethan Period - say the four - came from the refugees escaping from the religious persecutions in France and ore countries. The openess of Netherlands made many masterpieces possible. Afro-americans invented rock’n’roll, jewish made Hollywood. The most important artist of the 20th Century was a spanish immigrant living in Paris, Pablo Picasso.

The Friendship Tour Manifesto