MPs to be sent Brexit book after crowdfunding campaign

MPs to be sent Brexit book after crowdfunding campaign

A book warning about the dangers of Brexit is to be sent to all 650 MPs after the public backed an impromptu fundraising campaign set up by a reader.

Justen Hyde, a software engineer in Oxfordshire, began crowdfunding to distribute copies of Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now? by Ian Dunt, editor of politics.co.uk, last Thursday (8th December).

The book, touted by its publishers Canbury Press as "the ultimate guide" to Brexit, was published last month.

Currently 225 backers have contributed £3,506 to the fundraiser – 88% of the campaign’s target.  The philosopher A C Grayling described the book as “excellent” and “a must-read” and has contributed £100 to the crowdfund.  “Harrass every MP until they have read Dunt’s book,” he wrote on the funding page. 

Hyde, who did not previously know the book’s author or anyone at Canbury Press prior to reading the book, launched the campaign in a bid to "raise the quality" of the Brexit debate.

He said: "Since the EU referendum the tone of debate among MPs has often shown a worrying lack of engagement with the real complexities of negotiating Brexit. The dangers of a mismanaged Brexit should worry everyone - both Leave and Remain supporters. In a bid to raise the quality of debate, we plan to deliver a copy of Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now? by Ian Dunt to every MP, complete with a covering letter stating the aims of the campaign. We’ll ask them to read it and ask them to set out their thoughts on the key issues raised."

The cost of delivering the books to all 650 MPs is £6,363. The publishers, Canbury Press, has pledged to match-fund every book, contributing half of the cost, leaving the campaign with a target of £3,959.

After hitting that, Hyde plans a “stretch goal” to send the book representatives in the devolved assemblies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In a letter accompanying the book, Hyde will ask the politicians to read the book and to set out their thoughts on the key issues it raises. 

Writing on Facebook this week, he explained: “When I finished the book, I decided to send my MP a copy. The only way to work around problems is to be aware of them; hopefully he'd find it helpful. But one MP won't make a difference... and I'm far from the only person despairing at the fantasy of a simple, quick and painless Brexit being pedalled as if stating something loudly enough is sufficient to make it happen. So I started Brexit Book Club – working together to send a copy to every MP, and inviting people to write to their representatives with questions to help them form a view on the details the need to be grappling with.”

Hyde went on: “The aim is to get all MPs to engage with Brexit, and to begin genuinely discussing and debating the issues – to put the point-scoring and short term politicking aside and stop the nation from drifting into disaster because no one was prepared to face up to the realities we're heading towards.”

The book will be posted to all 650 MPs in Westminster in January. 

Yesterday (Tuesday 13th December), in another bid to improve politics with literature, a group of writers including A L Kennedy, Sebastian Barry and Courttia Newland participated in an event which will saw MPs given copies of A Country of Refuge (Unbound) in the hopes that this will "change the tone of the debate on refugees".