With British citizens voting on whether to “Leave” or “Remain” in the European Union in the coming days, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and electronic music pioneer Brian Eno are among those who have penned arguments against the “Brexit.”
“As this country has entered what will come to be seen as one of the most divisive and bitter political campaigns ever waged within its borders, I’ve thought a lot about the rules for creating villains,” Rowling wrote on her website. “We are being asked whether we wish to remain part of the European Union and both sides of this campaign have been telling us stories.”
In her 1,700-word essay on the EU Referendum, Rowling examined the “villains” in both the “Remainers” and the “Leavers.” Rowling, who has condemned Donald Trump in the past, likened the “Leave” movement to the presumptive Republican presidential candidate’s platform.
“Look towards the Republican Party in America and shudder. ‘Make America Great Again!’ cries a man who is fascist in all but name,” Rowling wrote. “His stubby fingers are currently within horrifyingly close reach of America’s nuclear codes. He achieved this pre-eminence by proposing crude, unworkable solutions to complex threats. Terrorism? ‘Ban all Muslims!’ Immigration? ‘Build a wall!’ He has the temperament of an unstable nightclub bouncer, jeers at violence when it breaks out at his rallies and wears his disdain for women and minorities with pride. God help America. God help us all.”
Rowling also noted, “Donald Trump supports the break up of the EU.”
“It is dishonourable to suggest, as many have, that Leavers are all racists and bigots: they aren’t and it is shameful to suggest that they are,” Rowling wrote. “Nevertheless, it is equally nonsensical to pretend that racists and bigots aren’t flocking to the ‘Leave’ cause, or that they aren’t, in some instances, directing it.”
Eno was similarly critical of the movement to “Leave” and the “very wealthy people anxious to get out of the EU” in a Facebook post Saturday.
“Is it because many of the constraints on how badly you’re allowed to treat workers have been put in place by the EU,” Eno asked of the motives behind a Brexit. “Is it because the EU has insisted on environmental legislation which hampers the freedom-to-pollute of corporations and governments? Is it because the EU has established an international criminal court where all those people to whom we sell weapons might be called to account? Is it because the EU has tried to come up with some sort of humane response to immigration other than barbed wire and Trumpian walls? I have a lot of misgivings about the way the EU is run, but they don’t make me want to ditch the whole idea.”
While Eno admitted that the EU as it stands now is imperfect, he’s hopeful that a close brush with leaving will energize the alliance to work towards its initial vision. “The only good outcome of this referendum is that it might remind us what the original mission of the EU was, and might motivate us to actually make it happen,” Eno wrote.
On Sunday, John Oliver focused on why a British departure from the EU would be a bad decision on Last Week Tonight.
However, not every British celebrity will vote to “Remain”: On Twitter, Monty Python actor John Cleese revealed that he’s voting to “Leave” the EU. “If I thought there was any chance of major reform in the EU, I’d vote to stay in. But there isn’t. Sad,” the actor tweeted June 11th.