So there I was in Soho Square on a cold and rainy morning, nibbling my complimentary almond croissant and eagerly looking forward to the advance preview of Mike Leigh’s new historical epic Peterloo. This People’s Uprising of 1819, and its brutal suppression by a wealthy, uncaring and out-of-touch metropolitan elite, took place precisely 200 years before we finally leave the EU next year. And thrilling if traumatic times they were too.
‘An old, mad, blind, despised and dying King… A people starved and stabbed in th’ untilled field…’ wrote Shelley in some of his most ferocious lines.
So Leigh surely saw Peterloo as a powerful metaphor for our own Brexit revolt —the vote that rang out around the world — and all the other thrilling nationalist, populist uprisings that have taken place since against the ‘old, mad, blind’ corrupt, self-serving and tottering international-liberal order — otherwise known as the Confraternity of St Bono.