Now, Preston-based writer Leslie J Nicholls has added his voice to the debate with his debut novel, set in an alternative future where Britain has left the EU.
In This Disunited Kingdom, Scotland has gained its independence and – under a coalition government between the Tories and UKIP – Britain’s borders are closed to the world as security service MI7 monitors social media leading to the loss of personal privacy.
With Islamic State controlling most of the Middle East and with it most of the world’s oil, Scotland falls into crisis and Britain sees the formation and rise of Islamist extremist group IBIS bringing on almost inevitable civil war.
It might just be fiction, but former salesman-turned- novelist is in no doubt how important next month’s referendum will be for our future.
“The book takes its inspiration from the current social, economic and political landscape and projects dramatic transformation throughout the next decade,” he said. “The book describes and demystifies many of the complex issues that the UK currently faces and invites the reader to examine how current events, and our responses, have a profound effect on the future of the British, European and World events.”
The former salesman from Walton-le-Dale released his political thriller last week ahead of the EU Referendum in June and the 60-year-old says the book strips back the layers of complexity when it comes the world of politics.
Leslie takes the threats that Britain currently faces, from Islamic State fears to EU doubts, and creates a world where these threats are played out to a thrilling end.
He said: “The book will entertain, educate and inform anyone who takes an interest in current affairs and has hope, aspiration, concern or fear for the future. There’s elements of doom and gloom but then there’s also the opposite.”
Leslie took early retirement to write the book two years ago and admits it has the potential to be controversial.
“I’ve always been a creative person and writing a book was always something I’ve wanted to do,” he said. “With my work I’ve spent a lot of time on the road, giving me time to listen to the radio and allow me to take a strong interest in current affairs. I wrote this novel, principally to excite and entertain but also to engage and inform readers who are not otherwise actively interested in domestic and international politics.
“My wife and two daughters have been itching to get a copy, because I’ve kept it a complete secret over the past 12 months. I’m excited to see what people think and then after that I’m looking at writing my second book - a more light-hearted mystery novel.”
l The book is now available on Amazon, Kindle and in Waterstones and for more information go to www.austinmacauley.com