May’s plan for a Brexit festival flops on social media

Posted at 10:42 AM, Sep 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-30 12:42:20-04

UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to hold a nationwide festival in 2022 to celebrate Britain’s scheduled departure from the European Union next year, but it was quickly mocked on social media.

A statement issued by the ruling Conservative Party said the event would be called “The Festival” and would echo the 1851 Great Exhibition that celebrated the achievements of Victorian Britain as well as the 1951 Festival of Britain, held shortly after the devastation and hardship of World War II.

“Almost 70 years ago the Festival of Britain stood as a symbol of change. Britain once again stands on the cusp of a new future as an outward facing global trading nation,” May said in a statement.

“We want to capture that spirit for a new generation, celebrate our nation’s diversity and talent and mark this moment of national renewal with a once-in-a-generation celebration.”

The statement said the government would provide $156 million to “plan the event which is expected to generate billions of pounds for the UK economy.”

But on Twitter, the view was less charitable.

“I can see it now … a village green: p*****g it down with rain; marquee falls down; food runs out; Morris dancers don’t turn up; a few locals start a drunken fight; Nigel Farage sitting in a Spitfire whistling the Great Escape,” tweeted James Melville, who describes himself as a “Scotsman living in Cornwall.”

Graphic artist Richard Little posted his imagined 2022 version of the original Festival of Britain poster from 1951.

Many other social media users were equally nonplussed.

But there were some voices of support.

“FestivalofBrexitBritain is a good idea to boost patriotism,” tweeted Adam John, who describes himself as a history graduate.

There was also some praise for the proposed festival from delegates at the Conservative Party Conference that began Sunday in Birmingham.

“I remember how good the last one was in 1951, shortly after the war, it was a great success and anything that can replicate that would be wonderful,” a delegate in his late seventies who didn’t want to give his name told CNN.

“I don’t know much about it, but I think it’s not a bad idea, celebrating the entire Union, especially post-Brexit,” said Aine Lagan, a woman in her late 20s from Northern Ireland.