Photo via Flickr user Lettuce1
In the weeks leading up to Britain's referendum on whether to leave or stay in the European Union, the tug of war between Eurosceptics and the remain campaign is at fever pitch. A different hot-button topic (the National Health Service, the economy, education) dominates the headlines each day, with facts and figures from each camp feverishly dissected by Twitter's political commentators and the rabbit hole of the MailOnline comment section.
And it's not just online. Everyone from mouthy Uber drivers to your nan's neighbour has an opinion on how you should vote come June 23. Even veteran news broadcaster Jon Snow is getting bored of all this discussion.Still, you can escape from all these political larks down the pub, eh?
Not for much longer. Wetherspoons, the much-loved discount pub chain and adopter of such fine multi-cultural culinary events such as Mexican Mondays and the Curry Club, has just jumped into the Brexit debate.JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin announced today that 200,000 beer mats emblazoned with messages in favour of a British exit from the EU will be rolled out in all 920 of the chain's UK pubs in the lead-up to next month's referendum.The beer mats—probably the most British medium of communicating political messaging—attack the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its managing director Christine Lagarde, referring to her alleged involvement in a payment made to businessman Bernard Tapie, who supported Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 French presidential election(Lagarde was Sarkozy's finance minister at the time).The copy on the mats reads: "At Wetherspoon, we sincerely respect and admire the French people and your country, but note that you [Lagarde] are due to stand trial in France for your part in authorising a €400 million payment by the French state to Bernard Tapie—a supporter of your political party."
In a press release about the beer mats, Martin explained what his anti-IMF messaging had to do with Britain's exit from the EU: "The governance issues within the IMF, are, in my opinion, very serious for UK citizens. […] Corporate governance at the IMF is clearly out of control. The UK public have been asked to rely on her comments by both George Osborne and David Cameron in the forthcoming referendum."Martin hasn't been shy about his pro-Brexit views over the last few weeks, voicing his opinions on BBC's Question Time, donating £200,000 to the leave campaign, and pledging to visit 100 Wetherspoon outlets in the coming weeks to talk to customers and staff about the debate. Keep an eye out, you could get more than you bargained for if you pop into your local Spoons for a quick glass of Blossom Hill's finest next month.
As well as the Brexit beer mats, Wetherspoons customers will also be able to pick up a copy of the "EU Referendum Special" of the pub's in-house news magazine. Don't panic web readers, you can also download it from the Wetherspoon website.Martin hasn't revealed how much this Brexit work will cost the pub chain (any business that plans to spend more the £10,000 on campaigning in the referendum must register with the Electoral Commission—JD Wetherspoon isn't registered), but today's beer mat announcement did end with an eloquent call to arms: "she [Lagarde] must now answer the questions on the beer mats and others that the public may have."Well, it makes a change to sending your answers in on a postcard.