Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Brexit
20 February 2018updated 24 Jun 2021 12:26pm

The Mad Max Brexit dystopia speech David Davis should have given

“And may god have mercy on our souls – for mankind surely won’t.”

By Jonn Elledge

“Let me get one thing straight. Fears that Brexit will plunge Britain into a Mad Max-style dystopia are based on absolutely nothing. Really, I don’t even know who it is who’s putting that rumour about. Sure, there was that slide deck created by my own department, but it was never intended for public consumption, and anyway the pictures were very clearly meant as a joke.

“At any rate: the idea that leaving the single market will turn the green fields of Buckinghamshire into a lawless desert kingdom fought over by warring tribes on stilts with guitars that shoot flame whenever you play a major seventh is very wide of the mark. As things stand, whatever our future relationship with the EU, the booming Milton Keynes economy should have access to adequate water supplies until at least 2020.

“Let me say, too: driverless cars are our future.

“It is also worth remembering that, since the British people exercised their democratic right and voted to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom has received record foreign direct investment. This is an unprecedented vote of confidence in the British economy as it diverges from the continent. And it goes to show that the chances of the British people finding themselves fighting their loved ones over the decaying remains of their neighbours, just so they can snap open their bones and eat the delicious, nutritious marrow inside, are *chuckles* slim, to say the least. In my constituency alone, we have two new branches of Tesco Metro.

“It is worth re-iterating, too, that there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland. Thanks to new computer and drone technologies, we expect people and goods to continue to move freely between the North and the Republic. So the idea that we will need manned customs posts, let alone an enormous Berlin Wall-style barrier with watchtowers and floodlights and traitors being shot as they try to scale the wall and escape into the still-civilised EU, is complete and utter nonsense.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

“Let me be clear: Britain must leave the Customs Union. That is what the public voted for. Now that is what the public must get.

Content from our partners
How to create a responsible form of “buy now, pay later”
“Unions are helping improve conditions for drivers like me”
Transport is the core of levelling up

“But it is time, now, for us to put aside our differences – for the country to come together, and for Remainers to support the government as we endeavour to get the best Brexit settlement that we can. It is no use just standing on the sidelines complaining that you don’t like the referendum result. It is no use pointing out that, 20 months after the vote, the government has still yet to even decide on what it wants its future relationship with the EU to look like.

“And it is absolutely pointless to stockpile canned food and weapons in that concrete bunker you’ve had built at the end of your garden, just so that you can survive the total breakdown of all social and economic relationships that our decision to leave the European Union will inevitably bring about. It is insanity to even try to plan for the sort of kill-or-be-killed world which will make the last act of Threads look as warm and comforting as an episode of Peppa Pig. Brexit means Brexit, we are going to make a success of it and the living will envy the dead.

“Thank you. And may god have mercy on our souls – for mankind surely won’t.

“Now. Would anyone like some warm water? I’m sorry, but I think we’ve run out of tea.”