The Brexit Power Ranking: All the Celebrities We've Lost to Leave

An exciting week to watch the world burn!
david attenborough poppy
Photo: Andy Morton / Alamy Stock Photo

Whew, another week in Brexit. As we crawl – weeping, bloody – toward the 31st of October, we're stuck with a leader who seemingly couldn't give less of a shit about meaningfully negotiating anything viable, toddling around Europe and shaking hands with Macron and Merkel in a doomed attempt to "solve Brexit".

What a week it's been!



Simon Rawles / Alamy Stock Photo

In this difficult climate, businesses need to be nimble. All this worrying about tariffs, supply chains, overcrowding or the dramatic decline of our society is getting in the way of decent business. Credit where credit's due, then, to Mecca Bingo, which has just announced it will be launching a Brexit menu to be used if a no-deal Brexit disrupts its food supply.


This would mean preparing to sell beer made in the UK, as well as langoustines from the UK, instead of those tasty European prawns. One can only speculate about the new daily specials. Turnip pie (no gravy)? Turnip fritters and a single British pork chop on a bed of turnip mash with boiled swede? Alan Sugar would be proud.


Brewdog founder James Watt has threatened to sail his grandfather's lobster boat, filled to bursting with refreshing Brewdog beer, to protest Brexit. "This may very well be the only way to get our beer into Europe come November!" he says.

Yes, the threat of food and medicine shortages – and opposition from half of the country – haven't done it yet, but maybe this intervention will convince the Brexiteers to see reason.

Seriously, though, if Brewdog can't export to Germany it would be pretty tragic. How would a country that famously has no beer of its own survive without imports of Elvis Juice? And how will Brexiteers live with themselves knowing that they have wrecked the fortunes of Scotland’s pre-eminent punktrepreneur? I for one don't want to find out.


There's nothing like a constitutional crisis to prompt a good cancelling. Unfortunately, since the referendum we've had to say goodbye to some well-loved figures, all banished to the land of cancellation after proclaiming how much they couldn't wait to leave the EU.

Rest in power Michael Cane, John Cleese and Joan Collins, the last of whom told the Daily Mail that "this tiny island will sink with so many people". Incredible.


This week, we see the much loved David Attenborough – who's come out swinging for the Leavers – added to that list. In an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, he noted that some people in South America and Africa "are faced with hideous problems, meanwhile we are occupied with these silly squabbles about Brexit", going on to say that people in the UK were "fed up with somebody over there who doesn't speak their language, telling them how much money they've got to charge for tomatoes or something silly".

CANCELLED! Sorry! I don't make the rules!


On Thursday, the British press as one splashed their front pages with the news that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had given Boris Johnson a 30-day deadline to come up with an alternative to the backstop. This was seen as a hopeful step, as until now the EU has refused to budge on the impasse over the Irish border. Now, Merkel seemed to be saying, "Go on, make us an offer in 30 days and we'll think about it."

Except, that is obviously not what she said at all. What she said was:

"The backstop has always been a fall-back position. If one is able to solve this conundrum, if one finds this solution – we said we would probably find it in the next two years to come, but we can also maybe find it in the next… erm… 30 days, why not? Then we are one further step in the right direction and we have to obviously put our all into this."


The clue was in the word "erm" – the sound of a woman pulling a hypothetical figure out of her arse. "Erm… 30 days? Why not?" she said, and may as well have continued: "Two hours? Sure. Several millennia? Could be! I could say anything and it wouldn't make a difference. If Britain can invent a system to have a seamless border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland when the two having different customs rules after Brexit – one that that is not dependent on technology that doesn't exist yet, and that wouldn't cause a civil war in Ireland – then of course the EU will drop its need for a fall-back option. That could take 30 days, but it could take 30,000 years."

Johnson seized on the "30-day" bit as a declaration of willingness to consider Britain's non-solutions, saying, "You’ve set a blistering timetable there of 30 days, if I understood you correctly. I'm more than happy with that."

In reality, nothing has changed. But from that misunderstanding – perhaps wilful misunderstanding – the front pages were misleadingly written and everyone got increasingly befuddled by the whole thing.


It's late and your essay is due in six hours. You’re sort of there – there are words on a page and you've read three-quarters of the book in question. Add a little rhetorical flourish here and there, as well as some conveniently reworded SparkNotes, and bam! You have an essay.

This is very much the mood of Johnson’s most recent letter to the EU on the backstop problem. Essay blaggers among us will enjoy phrases such as, "Second, and flowing from the first" (??), as well as one section more meaningless than the majority of first-year Philosophy exams: "We must also respect the aim to find 'flexible and creative' solutions to the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland. That means that alternative ways of managing the customs and regulatory differences contingent on Brexit must be explored."

"Island of Ireland"? (word count – tick). Flexible and creative? We must explore other solutions? No shit. If you could maybe come up with those, that would be great.

@RubyJLL / @simonchilds13