In the long impending Brexit process there have been many projected dates on which the UK was supposed to leave the EU. First it was March 29th 2019, then April 12th, June 30th, and October 31st of the same year and now it seems certain (although having seen what we’ve seen who knows!) that Brexit will finally commence in earnest (if not get ‘done’ in Boris Johnson’s words) on Jan 31st 2020. This Friday.
Along the way the public have planned many ironic Brexit parties – often advertised as ‘UK’s leaving drinks’ – designed mostly to foster solidarity and lift spirits in the face of mounting worry and despair.
In the news this week though there’s been much discussion of Boris Johnson’s own party plans, including his desire to mark the occasion with several ‘bongs’ of Big Ben. When it became clear that Government were not going to pay for this, Johnson suggested that the public might like to raise their own money for it. Amazingly, given the amount of tax payers’ money already going on the Brexit process, there were over £200,000 worth of donations made to a crowdfunding account, although they looked set to fall short of the £500,000 needed. To the amusement of many, however, it transpired that there was no means set up for the House of Commons to accept this public donation.
Instead, Johnson is planning a party including a lights show, a projection of big ben onto number ten and the launch of a commemorative Brexit coin.
The Conservative party shop is even selling a range of Brexit themed items. These include mugs, tea towels and magnets bearing the words ‘Got Brexit Done.’ A crass slogan that reduces a highly complicated political decision with far reaching implications for all elements of life in the UK – the details of which still haven’t been worked out - to a smug victory dance, or insensitive epitaph.
These moves to celebrate Brexit have been seen by many, for obvious reasons, as an attempt to distract from the huge financial, political and social costs of the Brexit process so far and the likely costs to come. One commentator on a Huffington Post article on the subject asked of Boris Johnson’s planned festivities - ‘Does this absurd show include smoke and mirrors?’