Is there really a ‘political void’ that these two can fill?

Actor Laurence Fox (L) and former Brexit Party MEP Martin Daubney

Actor Laurence Fox (L) and former Brexit Party MEP Martin Daubney (R). Photograph: Twitter. - Credit: Twitter

There’s a classic showbiz story about comedy double act Mike and Bernie Winters on their debut at the feared Glasgow Empire in the 1960s. Their act opened as it usually did, with a classic bit of misdirection; straight man Mike playing mellow jazz on a clarinet until his wacky brother suddenly thrust his head through the curtains and broke into a cross-eyed, music-stopping, toothy gurn.

This ice-breaker was guaranteed to bring the house down elsewhere, but not so here. Instead, a bored voice came up from the stalls: “Oh Christ, there’s two of them.”

That Glaswegian groan sums up my reaction to word of a new political movement featuring the combined talents of Laurence Fox and Martin Daubney. Misfiring comedy duos are sometimes dubbed “the first double act with two straight men”, but this hookup between the anti-woke actor and the former Brexit Party MEP potentially offers the first political party led by two comedians.

“We need to organise and we are organising,” said Fox in a 40-minute joint broadcast on YouTube channel Un-locked. “It’s very exciting stuff,” added Daubney, who has been tweeting of late about “the gaping chasm for a new party” to fill “the political void”.

While the Conservative government seems determined to carry out the Brexit Party’s agenda, is there really a void on the right for this pair to fill, or is the only gaping chasm between Daubney’s ears?

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Much of what the duo discussed in their streaming chat could have been said by any right-wing Tory, although few of them have Fox’s way with a phrase. “It’s very difficult once you instigate a law to uninstigate a law,” he explained at one stage, before pointing out that the difficulty with Covid marshals was “how do you unmarshal them?” Meanwhile, his rant about Greta Thunberg (“by the way, sweetheart, your carbon footprint age 15 is about 50 times what my mother’s was in her entire life and she didn’t moan about this stuff, she got on and she was an amazing woman”) said far more about the Old Harrovian’s state of mind than it did about the young Swede’s supposed hypocrisy.

The key point of difference between the Foxneys and the Tories seems to be the government’s response to coronavirus, which Fox has dubbed “Covid-1984”. On the rule of six, he told viewers: “It would be quite funny if everyone got together in groups of seven and had a pint” (spoiler: this would not be funny). Meanwhile Daubney said the government response didn’t “feel British” and moaned about the dangers of “giving power to people who are no-marks”. A good point at which to remind ourselves that Martin Daubney was an MEP for six long months.

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The other topic that the Loztins seem to want to make their own is race, and here again they are unwise. The idea that “systemic racism is utter rubbish” might be worthy of debate, but surely not a debate led by Fox, whose deepest thoughts on the matter include outrage that several books in airport branches of WH Smith are about the topic. He explained: “It’s all about race and you’re like, ‘I just want a Frederick Forsyth novel to go on holiday’. I want Andy McNab, Chris Ryan, Frederick Forsyth. And it’s like, race, black, white, colour. No-one else has got a shot.” Truly, Fox highlights discrimination at its worst and those who marched with Martin Luther King can count themselves lucky not to have known such hardship.

Lozza believes that black people in American should chill out as they only have a “three in ten million” chance of being killed by the police (research published by the LA Times in 2019 showed about one in 1,000 black men and boys in America could expect to die during an encounter with cops, 2.5 times the figure of that for white men and boys).

None of the above seems likely to put him back in favour with old colleagues like Rebecca Front, who played his boss in ITV’s Inspector Morse spin-off Lewis for several years, and with whom he recently had a public falling-out. Fox says his career has been damaged by his views, and this really is a shame: he was excellent in Lewis despite severely diminishing returns in terms of scripts and co-stars towards the end of its nine-year run. He can be mesmerizing even in a rubbishy Poirot. Daubney, meanwhile, has a nice blue suit.

But what happens to Fox if the political thing follows his acting career down the gurgler? His attempts to become a professional singer-songwriter have been murdered by a sleepily out-of-tune appearance on Jeremy Vine On Five, but there is still a chance that he could build a career in music.

Because when Fox told Daubney: “Life’s not about being dead, it’s about being alive”, it struck me: He’d make an ideal third member of Bros...

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