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'Brexit - The Movie' Paints a Thatcherite Dream Of Post-EU Britain

12/05/2016 08:56 | Updated 16 May 2016

"Is it for The Jungle Book?" one tourist asked as men in tuxedos and women in expensive frocks descended on Leicester Square in Central London.

The Odeon cinema has played host to many film premieres in its time, but Brexit: The Movie must be one of its most, shall we say, niche.

Instead of Hollywood stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Ryan Gosling, there was Nigel Farage and Kate Hoey and the 1,700 seat venue was not filled with lovers of the silver screen, but Brexit believers.

Some of the bigger Leave campaigners stayed away - Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Douglas Carswell - but for the train-spotters amongst us there were plenty of Brexit big hitters.

Former Tory leadership contender David Davis, oft-sacked Ukipper Suzanne Evans and even the MP for the 1950s Jacob Rees-Mogg were all in attendance - enjoying for him what must have been a rare trip to the talkies.

After free champagne, and an introduction from filmmaker Martin Durkin, Brexit: The Movie began.

The film itself focused on regulations, trade and EU waste - and stereotypes.

An Italian umbrella factory was portrayed as shoddy with workers more concerned with snogging a curvaceous woman than making quality brollies.

A Frenchman was, yep you guessed it, wearing a beret, a striped top and had a string of onions round his neck.

The growing economic powerhouse of Asia was portrayed by two men of Asian ethnicity being good at maths.

The documentary format meant that many of the faces associated with Brexit - some of whom were in the audience - got their moment on the silver screen.

Cheers went up when Nigel Farage, Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell appeared in all their cinematic glory.

Conversely, there were boos and hisses when footage of Tony Blair, David Cameron and Ted Heath were shown - one audience member even shouted out 'nonce' when Heath was on the screen.

The central thrust of the film was the EU has too many regulations, and too many regulations stifles growth.

Many of the talking heads talked fondly of the Industrial Revolution - a time when British entrepreneurship and a lack of state intervention made the UK the workshop of the world.

Strangely, no one mentioned the huge exploitation of workers, including children, which that entailed. Perhaps the Sadlers Committee Report of 1832, which revealed the dire treatment of children in textiles mills and factories, was a piece of fiction and it was all peace, love and money during the Industrial Revolution.

Nor in the film was there any talk of workers' rights, common security goals or countries coming together to combat issues such as climate change - all things EU remainers point to as reasons to stay in.

But hey, this was Brexit: The Movie. You wouldn't get annoyed with a Star Wars film for not giving an equal hearing to the Dark Side after all.

Also not mentioned throughout the 70-odd minute running time was immigration. The entire film focused on the economic and democratic reasons for leaving. Perhaps that's why there were more clips of the Institute of Economic Affairs Mark Littlewood than Nigel Farage.

When it comes down to it, could this film convince people to vote leave on June 23? Yes, I do believe it could. It put forward a strong case as to why, in terms of trade and taking away regulations, the UK could do well when freed from Brussels.

It will play well with a certain section of the electorate: small business owners, the entrepreneurs, the people Margaret Thatcher so successfully targeted in the 1980s.

But, conversely, could this film convince people to actually vote Remain? Yes, I think it could do that too. The vision of the UK painted in Brexit: The Movie is of a country where business rules the roost and any regulation is something to be resisted.

It is a film I would recommend everybody watches, no matter what side of the argument they are on.

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