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The Festival of Brexit is Unboxed

The celebration dreamed up by Theresa May has cost a scandalous £120m of public money

A multimedia installation and live performance event at Paisley Abbey, Scotland, to launch Unboxed. Photo: Lesley Martin/PA

Like the disaster of Brexit itself, an arts festival set up to celebrate the UK’s full departure from the EU is turning out to be a massive waste of public money.

Announced originally in 2018 as the Festival of Brexit, it finally opened this month with the new and meaningless name of Unboxed. Stubbornly, however, Jacob Rees-Mogg, minister for Brexit opportunities (if there are any), still calls it the Brexit festival.

Unboxed began on March 1 with coloured lights, showing the universe, reflected onto Paisley Cathedral in Scotland. Locals said they would have preferred the yellow and blue-coloured flags of Ukraine beamed on to some of Renfrewshire’s other public buildings.

With 10 events across the UK from March to October, Unboxed is costing a scandalous £120m of public money. The Arts Council, having lost hundreds of millions of pounds of funding under the Tories, is fuming. They would much prefer the £120m to be used instead to bolster underfunded non-West End theatres, other performing arts, and galleries.

The other so-called delights of the Unboxed festival include a decommissioned North Sea oil platform that has been repurposed as “a work of art”, and Tour De Moon, a festival of nightlife in clubs.

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