BREX FACTOR: A newspaper all about Brexit? Are they mad?
PUBLISHED: 11:20 07 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:16 08 July 2019
STEVE ANGLESEY on Nigel Farage’s plan for a new newspaper all about Brexit.
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"A new national newspaper which is all about Brexit? Are they mad?" That was a typical reaction back in July 2016 as we unveiled plans to launch The New European. Thankfully, the answer turned out to be "no", which our impending third birthday confirms.
"A new national newspaper which is all about Brexit? Are they mad?" That was a typical reaction back in July 2019 - last Saturday in fact - as plans were unveiled to launch the Brexiteer. Naturally, the answer turned out to be "yes", which the involvement of Nigel Farage, Anne Widdecombe and Tim Martin confirms.
Still, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and all that, we must welcome this somewhat tardy entrant to the party, published this week by the people who brought you the Brexit Party.
Such is the automatic goodwill journalists feel for any print launch these days, it even seems a little churlish to point out that TNE found its niche precisely because, in the aftermath of the referendum, this was just about the only place where you could get quality analysis of how things might be even worse than any of us feared, but all might not yet be lost.
Conversely, if you want Nigel Farage burbling about how great Brexit will be, you only have to open the Sun, open the Mail, open the Telegraph, open the Express, open the Star and indeed open your curtains as he's probably in your garden now, hosting one of his Big Brexit Rallies.
The Brexiteer is free, but a sneak peek through its pages suggests that it may also be overpriced. The front of 'Issue 0001" - at one edition per month it will take them until the middle of 2101 to hit issue 1000 - promises an interview with Tim Martin of Wetherspoons. What a scoop to land the shy and reclusive publican, breaking his silence after penning 1,800 words on Brexit for the summer edition of his own house organ Wetherspoon News, which also contains a three-page interview about Brexit with one Tim Martin! But can it live up to the devastating point Tim made at the party's Big Vision Rally in Birmingham: "Have you ever heard an Aussie, in a moment of self doubt, say 'oh, I wish I could use the euro'?" To which the only answer is, "no, because there's no point in using the euro to try to buy things if you live in Australia."
Elsewhere on the cover there is a blurb reading "Page 3 - Ann Widdecombe". A nudge-nudge joke for the sexist Brexiteer (Brexsist?) lads there. And of course there's Farage, under the headline "We're Turning Anger Into Hope". Presumably this is because the more factually correct headline "We Turned Consensus Into Division, We Turned Neighbour Against Neighbour And Now We're Turning Anger Into More Anger" didn't fit.
Since the Brexit Party has launched a new range of merchandise, which includes an 'official Brexit Party boat flag' for £99.99, maybe it should have been a rewrite of the old Clash lyric from (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais: "We're Turning Rebellion Into Money".
What else can we expect from the Brexiteer, of which some three million copies are said to have been printed? A large Going Out section, followed by a Staying Out section? A sport section written by Geoff Boycott, about how cricket was better in the old days (and so was everything else)? A letters page printed in green ink? The first crossword consisting entirely of white squares?
Taking The New European as a template, will they launch an Animal Readers photo section featuring only non-French bulldogs and Old English sheepdogs? A poetry section featuring the work of mysteriously funded Aussie Brexiteer Chloe Westley, whose talent for verse has earned her the nickname Pam Ayres Rock?
And will they sub out Mitch Benn for the Brexity comic Lee Hurst, formerly of They Think It's All Over? Lee's latest jokes on social media include: "Let's all go to Glastonbury and break into the festival until there isn't room to move. Then when the people start shouting 'Hang on, we paid for our tickets and there's no more room'. Then we should all ask: 'Now can we have a rational chat about controlled immigration?'" Mate, I wouldn't open with it.
One thing is for sure. Given the endless amounts of guff spouted by their side and the large amount of good sense coming from ours, the Brexiteer is going to struggle to find enough gaffes to crown a stupid Remoaner Of The Week.
- Darren Grimes, the social media expert fined and reported to the police for breaking campaign law in the 2016 referendum, was proud to make yet another appearance on these pages last week. Grimes told his Twitter followers: "I'm absolutely delighted that Remoaner rag The New European has placed me in their Brexiteer of the Week section once again. I think I'd better keep copies of all of these awards that they keep on giving me, I don't think their print run has too long left!"
Sorry to disappoint Darren, but as TNE approaches its third anniversary we are in rude financial health. Next time you've got someone else's £625,000 burning a hole in your pocket though, we all fancy a fortnight in Mauritius.
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Brexiteers of the week
The comments section of Mail Online continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. Consider this broadside from the above-named reader:
"Would it really be so awful if one of these Glastonbury rap people sang a song that was POSITIVE about Brexit? I know it's not COOL to want a country free from the yolk (sic) of oppression and I know it's not COOL to be a free thinker but think of the good Stormzy or The Killers could do if they rapped about the possibility of a free trade deal instead of knife crime or drugs. This is why the youth of today are basically sheep and don't care about patriotism." The rant was posted, with hilarious inevitably, from "Madrid, Spain".
3) JONATHAN BULLOCK
The East Midlands MEP dropped a Bullock when he called for Britain to skip out on its £39 billion settlement with the EU, telling Radio Five Live: "We won't be a member of the EU so we won't have to pay. If my golf club signs up to redevelop its pavilion but I leave the golf club, I won't have to pay for that for five to 10 years time."
Told that part of the so-called 'divorce bill' covers pension payments to MEPs like himself, Bullock then claimed the EU should not renege on its own commitments to pay up even if Britain did similar. He said: "It wouldn't be legal for them to do that of course because they have a contract." A clear case of one rule for EU, another for me.
2) ROGER HELMER
Bullock has much to live up to. His predecessor Helmer was once photographed 'resting his eyes' in the EU parliament and then resigned in 2017 after it turned out he had broken the rules by hiring a UKIP party worker as his assistant, costing him £101,364 in docked wages.
Roger has now turned his considerable intellect to the problem of the high-speed rail network, writing on Twitter: "'Scrapping HS2 would be a national embarrassment', says a newspaper headline. Of all the arguments for HS2, this is surely the crassest. If we've made a mistake, if the public don't want it, better to admit it now & change course."
Can any readers think of another costly mistake which the public don't want and which we should change course on immediately?
1) DAVID BULL
The newly elected Brexit Party MEP kicked off his career in the EU parliament by complaining it was too far from his home in Ipswich. The aptly named Bull moaned in a video: "It's eight hours… Ipswich to London Liverpool Street, so after that I have to go from London Liverpool Street to King's Cross. From King's Cross I then have to go to Paris… I then have to go from Paris to Strasbourg, and I arrive at something like twenty to seven tonight.
"I left home already at eight o'clock this morning, having got in at midnight. And I'm going to have to do this repeatedly because for some reason parliament seems to be in a very inaccessible place." Would he back Remain if the parliament was in Felixstowe instead?
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Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.Become a supporter