Trevor Williams 8 May 2017 10:00am

Between the lines

Trevor Williams, visiting professor at Derby University and former chief economist at Lloyds Bank, shares his life in books, and economia reviews Brexit: Why Britain voted to leave the European Union
Caption: Trevor Williams says he wishes that Barack Obama would write another book, because it would enlighten us about a seminal moment in US history.

My favourite science fiction novel is 2001: A Space Odyssey; my favourite novel is Animal Farm. I’ve also got a favourite poem: I rise by Maya Angelou, and my favourite writer is Harper Lee who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird.

The book that I learned the most from is The Black Jacobins by CLR James. Compelling story-telling: events, people, politics, personalities and economics in a broad sweep of time.

I wish that Barack Obama would write a(nother) book, because it would enlighten us about a seminal moment in the US’s history that cannot be undone. I would love it to be a warts and all account of the people, times and events during those eight years.

The last book I read was Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It challenges beliefs and assumptions taken as fact about our past and so suggests that everything about our future must be questioned, as the past is not what many think.

My desert island book would be Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison because of the power of the writing and because the invocations of individuality, identity, time and place stay with you. Every time I read it, I learn something new.

economia reviews...

Brexit: Why Britain voted to leave the European Union

Harold D. Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley

There will be many more books like this, disseminating the whys? and what nexts?. But for now, this trio are among the first out of the traps and because theyre all academics, and theres a lot of empirical analyses included here, this book feels reassuringly open-minded.

Clarke is a professor at the University of Texas; Goodwin at the University of Kent; and Whiteley at the University of Essex. All experts on British politics and voting behaviour, they use historic and current data to explain the attitude of the electorate and why they voted as they did.

They analyse attitudes towards the elite, the economy, the EU and immigration, drawing on surveys with members of UKIP among others. And they look at what the vote means for British politics. Will Brexit be a one-off, they ask? Data from European Social Surveys suggests the growth in euroscepticism is not confined to the UK. A fascinating read.