There are better ways than begging to get Britain back in the EU for good, says columnist Mark Beaumont
Across the nation, Christmas dinner will come basted in familial division, seasoned with race hate and liberally drizzled with the hollow solace of knowing these are the last non-carcinogenic sprouts you’ll ever taste. Social media churns with former friends at each other’s throats, Parliament takes two weeks of deep breaths like a hostage victim granted permission to piss themselves, and even the 1990 World Cup squad are calling for their own televised debate on the issue.
Brexit haunts the festive season of 2018 like the Ghost Of Exploitative Trade Deals Future. But as our Kerplunk tournaments resound with fears for the NHS, rows over immigration and tips for next year on how long it takes to roast a twelve-pound rat, our charts remain obsessed with who’s baby is leaving who, which part of who’s anatomy is causing major arousal issues to whom, and who’s having sex in who’s car on heroin. If you’ve listened to much mainstream radio in the past two years you’d be forgiven for thinking the biggest challenge facing British people today is drink-matching Galway girls.
Pop music, of course, is supposed to provide light relief from the Boris-faced horrors of the real world. Traditionally it’s the job of underground music to reflect the turbulent ills of the age, and it’s been hard at it, expressing Brexit responses ranging from “WTF!??!” to “gibbergibber-aaaaarghh!!!” Idles dedicated a fair chunk of their last album to mocking brexiteers and championing immigrants, like a shouting, hairy-arsed Mash Report. Shame’s ‘Visa Vulture’ and Goat Girl’s ‘Scum’ have ensured that the South London gristle rock scene is diametrically at odds with the scrotes frequenting the pubs they play in. Even old subversives like Jagger and Macca have released songs of Brexspair, and no doubt Everything Everything buried a surrealist Brexit metaphor somewhere in their last album, possibly portraying Britain as a fat child, the EU as its pushchair and Brexit as the speeding bus it’s about to be tipped under.
But mainstream pop music has a history of changing the world. Hasselhoff brought down the Berlin Wall. Justin Timberlake brought sexy back. Um, that’s it. Okay, pop music has been shit at changing the world. So you’ve got to admire the bloody-minded optimism of The Breunion Boys, the Dutch boyband who formed with the express intention of stopping Brexit with the power of pop.
To The Breunion Boys, Britain is that sexed-up forever girl of a country that they just want to stay another day. They’re in love with the shape of Crewe. “I want Britain back,” says one in a promotional film, clearly forlorn over potential tariffs on shortbread. “Britain come back to us, it’s not too late to turn around,” they sing on single ‘Britain Come Back’, like we’re the Selena Gomez of the G20, “there’s always been a sea between us, we used to sail it together…Britain you’re great, but together we’re greater”.
Blocked. I mean, this approach is about as likely to woo Britain back into the EU as that 24 hours of begging texts and final affectionate “whore” was to win you a Tinder life partner. If there’s one thing even less likely to appeal to brexiteers than the EU’s image as a domineering, unelected dictator, it’s painting it as a fawning desperate ex pleading for one last torrid customs union. At least some of them like being dominated, judging by my extensive research for this article on DagenhamDoggers.com.
As for their plan to seduce Britain back into their loving arms by touring pubs, these are clearly men who’ve never been in a British pub. The sort of people drinking in Brexit pubs are going to welcome a bunch of stage school Dutch twonks prancing about singing “your voice paints my heart, your mirage fades away, your choice turns my spine grey” about as warmly as a new menu of gourmet vegan tagines, the telly flickering however briefly onto Sky Arts, or the suggestion of dentistry. And isn’t music banned in Wetherspoons anyway, robbing The Breunion Boys of the lion’s share of their captive target fanbase, since few of the regulars actually do have homes to go to?
They’d be much better off playing to the leavers’ notorious suggestibility, touring working men’s clubs in Farage hunting gear with a song called ‘Morrissey Was Right (Mug Off, Merkel)’ that unexpectedly switches into robotic Russian mid-chorus. Or turn the brexiteer’s greatest weakness against them: believing any old bollocks Boris tells them. Concoct a cut-n-paste skifflecore mash-up from Boris speeches called ‘Let’s All Wiff-Waff Our Way Bwwwwack Through The Letterbox Of Europe (Shat The Bed, Ran Away Mix)’ and watch them all hobble along to vote remain come Ref2. Because the way you’re going about it Breunion Boys, nothing will break like your hearts. It’s not you, it’s us.