The Brexit Letters, Volume 1

The entire Brexit mess has become such a destructive vortex of division and confusion that even some of us who have been totally engaged in the fight for the UK to Remain in Europe have now lost any sense of what the present situation actually means! Even after another million-strong pro-European demonstration in London, there’s a sense that nobody is listening and there are no channels left through which (at least) half the population of the UK feel they can have a say in the future of their own country. It is desperate.

Reluctant to fall into the trap of walking away in disgust, as this nasty government shuts down all democratic debate, many of us have turned to satire. To be quite honest, a lot of it is displacement activity: we have no idea what is left for us to do. On the other hand, while we are paused – marking time before possibly going over the cliff of a no deal Brexit – we are using humour to keep up morale!

So here is a selection of my efforts, as posted in the Veterans for Europe forum and on Twitter etc. I have used the medium of satirical correspondence as a way to develop some themes which have struck a chord with the Remain audience. The letters are in an English humorous tradition owing something to older satirical genres, something to Monty Python, and perhaps borrowing from my writings in much earlier comedy work (one act plays in London fringe theatre in the 1970s.)

I put them here because they are currently all out of sequence on Facebook and Twitter. In many years from now they may be rediscovered as part of the history of the Brexit disaster, and I may finally achieve recognition as someone who made no difference whatsoever to the outcome.

The ludicrous UK government advertising campaign to frighten the whole country into supporting their Brexit “deal” by threatening a scary “no deal” “crash out” exit just makes me angry. But I turned the absurdity of that propaganda into this spoof piece of ‘Benidorm Town Council’ advertising:

I suppose – if I’m honest about it – I write bits of comedy to amuse myself, and then enjoy seeing others amused; so having written the above piece and seen that it went down well on social media, I began my series of letters by imagining what Boris Johnson would write to the EU leaders on the final day before the deadline when Parliament compelled him to write, 19 October 2019. And this is what he wrote:

And this was Tusk’s reply on 20 October 2019:

There followed Jeremy Corbyn’s letter to Michel Barnier (the EU negotiator in Brussels) on 22 October:

…to which there was no reply (probably because it was too ludicrous for monsieur Barnier to trouble answering?)

Then I moved on to Michael Gove, the cabinet minister infamously responsible for “Operation Yellowhammer” and no-deal disaster planning. This letter was also posted on 22 October 2019, as demand was building up on social media for more satirical correspondence.

Meanwhile, Brexit humour was breaking out in other quarters, and while it had always been a part of the campaign, there was a noticeable increase in satirical humour and just “letting off steam” in the EU-Remain camp.

Continued in The Brexit Letters, Volume 2.