How Brass Eye predicted the Brexit debate

Forget The Thick Of It. The EU referendum campaign has bypassed mere silliness, and veered full-tilt into the bizarre realm of Chris Morris’s controversial cult satire Brass Eye

A politician and tabloid-baiting behemoth at the turn-of-the-millennium, Brass Eye’s take on media sensationalism, MP idiocy and public outrage now feels more apt than ever.

Ahead of the big vote tomorrow, here’s how the Brexit debate has been just like a vintage episode of the TV show.

The outrageous scare-mongering

Brass Eye brought us claims that a new designer drug was making kids throw up their own pelvic bones, and that paedophiles were now hunting the youth of Britain while disguised as schools.

Clearly, both sides of the EU debate have learned from such far-fetched fear tactics.

How else to explain David Cameron implying that Brexit could lead to World War III, or Nigel Farage’s doomsday poster depicting a horde of (non-EU) migrants heading straight for us, like a boring between-takes shot from a zombie apocalypse movie?

The bizarre statements

Michael Gove

“People in this country have had enough of experts,” snapped Michael Gove, with the kind of evidence-shirking, I’m-right-and-you’re-wrong approach reminiscent of Morris’s finest fake interviewees.

Remember the Brass Eye fox hunter who spluttered that “the fox feels nothing – it’s made of string”, or the fictional naval commander who ranted that “homosexuals can’t swim, they attract enemy radar…they attract sharks”?

The celebrity rallying-cries

Noel Edmonds gif

From Phil Collins sporting a nifty T-shirt bearing the slogan ‘Nonce Sense’, to the late, great Paul Daniels urging people to help get an elephant’s trunk out of its backside, Brass Eye understood the hunger that campaigns have to gather celebrities to their banner.

And the insatiable need stars have to get their voices heard on the big issues.

Cue everybody’s current obsession with which England football players support which side of the EU debate.

And the fact that noted political heavyweights Ulrika Johnson and Delia Smith will soon be duking it out on the Brexit issue (yes – this is real).

The ludicrous staged events

bob geldof boat

Last week, in scenes that could have come straight from the unlikely realm of a Brass Eye spoof report, professional rent-a-gob Bob Geldof and unofficial Leave talisman Nigel Farage clashed on the high seas (or at least the River Thames), as they led rival fleets of boats in a bizarre ‘battle’ that was like the world’s crappest Pirates Of The Caribbean tribute.

Insults were exchanged. Water was sprayed. Chris Morris presumably wept, when he realised there were no more satirical worlds to conquer.


Likewise, the idea of a colossal ‘Great Debate’ held at Wembley Arena with thousands of cheering ‘fans’ would have seemed like risible fantasy back in Brass Eye’s day.

But last night it became a baffling reality.

[Main image: Chris Morris in another satire classic – The Day Today]


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