A review of Brexit: The Movie

Sometimes, there are things which your humble writers at The Backbencher have to endure; on Wednesday night, we poor souls had to drag ourselves to a glamorous, glitzy premiere of Brexit the Movie, the brand new documentary from filmmaker Martin Durkin, about, believe it or not, the upcoming referendum.

Durkin, who has previously release titles such as Margaret Thatcher: Death of a Revolutionary and Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story, really did set himself a challenge by setting out to put the whole thing together in a matter of months; and from the first viewing, I can safely say that on balance the hard work has paid off.

Libertarian views don’t often get a popular audience (not to say that voting to leave is the default Libertarian view) so including in a film which he hopes to reach millions that he would quite happily see the steel industry go down the pan for fair trade is at least admirable for it’s bravery, despite the wincing from some audience members. Point being of course, that being in the EU hasn’t helped to prevent this at all, and may well have hurried along the process thanks to the emissions regulations.

This is something we should take seriously if we are to Brexit. Democracies have to make hard choices, and decisions that people don’t like. It has been very easy for all sides of the political debate to hold off or delegate a decision away because the EU decides it. If we leave, then we will have to have a serious debate about things that matter, which might spur debates in areas which we all know are well needed.

What the film is really about is the hope and belief in the ordinary people of Britain, and in particular the benefits of a better democratic system than the EU possesses. Mark Littlewood, one of the many talking heads in the film, points out that we basically know what happens when we go to vote in a general election; in contrast, did you know that there were four European Presidencies? The lack of accountability, or even a sense that there is accountability, is presented in a way which makes it very hard to come up with an alternative argument. How will you reform a system that helps so many (10,000 EU bureaucrats earn more than the PM) which won’t consider any fundamental changes when its second largest contributor threatens to leave?

The paltry reasons for staying in, the breadcrumbs that we little people (as James Delingpole puts it) are lower mobile phone charges abroad, and the vague idea that somehow the inter-railing is linked to the EU. This is not a choice, the film highlights, between the continuation of our countries illness in the 1970’s and the exotic prosperity of the European Union; this time, the situation has reversed, and in leaving Durkin asserts that we will be much better off for it.

Durkin takes us to the well known third world hellhole known as Switzerland, which has foolishly kept out of the great European project. Except of course – it is one of the richest countries in the world, and the largest companies in Europe are in Switzerland, which is not in the EU. How telling that is, and how remarkable it is that as we peel away from the super state that is being constructed how quick the transformation may be. The film goes at great lengths to point out the minor roles that trade deals play in trade; we do not need to be a part of South Korea to trade with them; but the reality is that we will probably be in the EFTA, which is not a future to be horrified at. We may very well regret our decision if we choose to stay in the worlds only shrinking trade block however.

One part the film was perhaps missing then, was a firm challenge that the EU is completely opposed to reform. The excellent demonstration of the depth of the role of the EU role in our lives, with the thousands of regulations before you even have a shower in the morning; the skeptic might well say “But ah; we have influence over those regulations, and if we don’t like them we can reform the way we do things”

Both point being of course, demonstrably false, but it would have been better to put this point across even more. We have been voted down every single time we have challenged the commission, and Cameron’s paltry reforms demonstrate the futility of the argument that we can reform it if we stay in. A further demonstration of the rigidness of the EU, as well as the massive of regulations and benefits to the bureaucrats themselves would have made the film slightly sharper, but I think the point is driven across well enough.

The film demonstrates that there can be a positive case for leave without resorting to anti-immigrant arguments, which aren’t very attractive to the general population (or Libertarians). In case you don’t quite fancy sitting through the entire thing (which I would advise doing) it will be made available over the coming days in around 16 clips, or highlights. The film is a wondrous achievement in that it is only a few weeks old, and hats off to the production team whether you like it or not.

(Vice really did have to endure it. They couldn’t find it racist! What a shame)


  1. What,exactly, do people mean when using the phrase “anti Immigrant” ? Could it be animosity towards a particular person? Could it be an unwillingness to contemplate an increase in the population of towns and cities to unsustainable levels?Could it be a refusal to accept that there could never be a case where immigration is not beneficial ?Why is discussing immigration problems referred to as “resorting to” Should we not expect some clarity in this matter as no one is immune to the effects of immigration not even bien- pensant.metropolitan types who mistakenly think only the lower orders have to carry the can.


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