Nobody gives a hoot about my Brexit misery | Stewart Lee | Opinion


A spiteful Leave owl howled outside my woodland cabin window all through Monday night, the gloom-bird of ill omen. “Tu-whit tu-whoo. We voted to leave,” it cried. I am not a superstitious person, but the following day’s Brexit vote was weighing heavily upon my restless Remoaner mind. “Honk your triumphant misery outside someone else’s half-term holiday hut, you swivel-eyed loon,” I shouted into the dark. I got out of bed, pulled on my TK Maxx Batman™® lounging trousers and threw pine cones at the black space I imagined the doom-presaging hooter occupied. “Tu-whit tu-whoo. We voted to leave.”

Earlier, I had calmed myself with a hot mix of Bovril, whisky and funny foraged forest fungi. But now, as the depressing Brexit bird swooped past me in the dark, dodging my futile projectiles, it seemed to have, plastered on to its owl-shaped head, the smirking face of Laura Kuenssberg. The evil TV homunculus can barely contain her obvious giggling delight when news goes the government’s way, even if it is made-up news un-named Downing Street sources have given to her, knowing she will regurgitate it unquestioningly, like an owl pellet made of lies. “Tu-whit tu-whoo. We voted to leave.”

Ironically for Brexiter cheerleaders, should he finally implement his bullying Brexit bill, then all that is certain is that Boris Piccaninny Watermelon Letterbox Cake Bumboys Vampires Haircut Wall-Spaffer Spunk-Burster Fuck-Business Fuck-the-Families Get-Off-My-Fucking-Laptop Girly-Swot Big-Girl’s-Blouse Chicken-frit Hulk-Smash Noseringed-Crusties Death-Humbug Technology-Lessons Surrender-Bullshit French-Turds Johnson will go down as the worst prime minister in British history. “Tu-whit tu-whoo. We voted to leave.”

On Tuesday night, I watched the Brexit bill pass on the same television, in the same hut, in the same almost-silent woodland, where I watched it fail six months ago, listening to the same twat owl and his hooting shit. Perhaps Turds had broken the Groundhog Day loop and soon John Bercow, the Punxsutawney Phil of politics, will emerge barking from his ancient hole no more and the Bill Murray of Britain will be free. Monsters are abroad. That afternoon, when she was running, a black dog bit my wife in the leg, breaking the skin. On a woodland walk, my son and I came between an angry boar, hidden in high ferns, and its young. We climbed a lightning blackened stump, as if requesting an extension. And all around everything was full of menace. “Tu-whit tu-whoo! Woof woof!! Oink oink!!! We voted to leave!!!!”

I admit – I never really believed Brexit would happen. Back in March, when the first Brexit deadline passed, I had felt a surge of optimism and resolved to eat and excrete my way through the tinned food and toilet roll supplies I had laid down in my Brexit bunker, as an act of faith. Every time I wiped myself clean on the recycled roll I had been saving for the now-deferred Mad Max meltdown, I gave thanks to Gina Miller and James O’Brien and all those brave souls who had battled Brexit. And then I flushed my filth away as a ritual act of cleansing, as if it were the shatted tissue of lies of the Leave campaign itself. But here it comes again. “Tu-whit tu-whoo. We voted to leave.”

And now I need to stockpile baked beans and bog roll once more. I sat up all of Tuesday night watching the Sky papers review, drinking Welsh cider and trying to understand. As Tuesday ticked into Wednesday morning, and on into prime minister’s questions, I still couldn’t work out what was actually happening, even as a seasoned Brexit-watcher. Apparently, Jeremy Corbyn was an IRA supporter, which was bad, but throwing the IRA’s opponents, the DUP, under the bus was good, because now Northern Ireland had a better deal than us, because it could be more closely aligned with the European Union, even though it is also good that we on the mainland have left. Brexit was still whatever you wanted it to be. “Woof woof! We voted to leave.”

Are we leaving the European Union now or not then? Can there be a second referendum? Will Corbyn be able to mash Brexit into Lexit? Was that his plan all along? Is Carole Cadwalladr still a thing or is that done with? What does Ken Clarke actually want? What about that woman with the pole and all that money or when Turds offered to help get a journalist beaten up? Is all that forgotten? Will Dominic Raab get into trouble for letting the alleged killer of that Northamptonshire kid escape and, if so, will he plead the same geographical ignorance that saw him misunderstand how sea works in his Brexit negotiations, to claim he didn’t really realise quite how far away the USA was? “Oink oink! We voted to leave.”

By Wednesday night, I was mentally marooned in political powerlessness. An acquaintance of mine, a liberal academic in a former Soviet state that has drifted to the far right, realises he and his aid worker wife may have left it too late to get out, as life becomes increasingly difficult. This isn’t the Britain I imagined I would live in. But is it cowardly to flee? And where would I flee to? The kids have Irish passports, but I am British, despite my birthplace now being shat on by the massive arse of Turds’s lying land grab. I needed to feel less impotent. So I resolved to catch me that owl. “Tu-whit tu-whoo. We voted to leave.”

Two AM on Thursday and I am covered in fungal night sweat, lurching naked through the woods, a net purloined from the family fishing cabin slung across my back. There it is, on a low branch, taunting me, the head-spinning bastard. “Tu-whit tu-whoo. We voted to leave.”

Stewart Lee’s new book, March of the Lemmings, is available now, as is a download and DVD of his last standup show, Content Provider. National dates are on sale for his latest live show, Snowflake/Tornado



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