JK Rowling criticises “divisive and bitter” EU campaigns

JK Rowling. Picture: PA
JK Rowling. Picture: PA
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Harry Potter author JK Rowling has said the EU referendum is “one of the most divisive and bitter political campaigns ever waged” and suggested the Leave campaign was attracting “racists and bigots”.

In an essay published on her website, Ms Rowling said the narratives advanced in the campaign have been “uglier than any I can remember in my lifetime”.

Ms Rowling, who announced her support for remaining in the EU on twitter yesterday, said both sides of the debate had “not been afraid to conjure monsters calculated to stir up our deepest fears”, but was particularly critical of campaigning for Brexit by Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

Amid continuing controversy over a poster unveiled by Mr Farage last week, Ms Rowling said immigrants have been “at the centre of some of the nastiest arguments of this campaign”.

Likening aspects of the Leave campaign to the “post-truth politics” embraced by US presidential hopeful Donald Trump, she said: “With the arrogance of a bunch of mini-Trumps they swear that everything will be glorious as long as we disregard the experts and listen to them. Embrace the rage and trust your guts, which Nigel Farage undoubtedly hopes contain a suspicion of brown people, an unthinking jingoism and an indifference to the warnings of history.”

Ms Rowling added: “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.

“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. For some of us, that fact alone is enough to give us pause.

“The picture of Nigel Farage standing in front of a poster showing a winding line of Syrian refugees captioned ‘Breaking Point’ is, as countless people have already pointed out, an almost exact duplicate of propaganda used by the Nazis.”

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