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22 January 2019

Please republish this column, Tim Martin, you Brexit-loving pillock

Wetherspoons News, the pub chain’s in-house-magazine-cum-hard-Brexit-propaganda-sheet, has been borrowing other people’s content.

By Jonn Elledge

Wetherspoons, as any fool know, is an enormous chain of enormous cut-price pubs. At any of the 900 or so branches of ‘Spoons, you can get a pint and a meal in an often beautiful setting at a surprisingly affordable price. You can even, thanks to its app, get the pub’s hard-pressed staff to bring you said affordable pint and meal, without ever getting off your fat arse, which is ideal for the drinking millennial, if not for the actual staff. We’ve got no problem with Wetherspoons as a pub company: Wetherspoons is, basically, good.

Something that is not good, however, is the fact that an affordable pint and meal is not the only thing on offer in the average Wetherspoons pub. Lying about the place, between an entirely extraneous layer of crumbs and a pool of spilt beer, you will find copies of Wetherspoons News, the chain’s in-house-magazine-cum-hard-Brexit-propaganda-sheet. It’s always been a deeply weird publication, occupying a strange hinterland between the Ukip manifesto and the Camra guide to Berkshire and Surrey.

But now it turns out it’s gone a step beyond weird and into the realms of completely fucking doolally. Let’s, at this juncture, turn to Buzzfeed’s Mark Di Stefano, who I am particularly keen to credit because the New Statesman, unlike certain other publications I’m about to name, prides itself on not simply ripping off other journalists’ work:

“If you open up Wetherspoon News, you’ll quickly find that along with news about the pub chain, there are columns about Brexit lifted entirely from some of the nation’s most well-known newspapers and magazines.

“In Wetherspoon News’ winter edition, for example, the magazine used columns from the Daily Telegraph, the Spectator, and the Financial Times, with accompanying pro-Brexit commentary from the tycoon himself.

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(…)

“A Wetherspoons spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News the magazine did not get permission from the publications or enter into a commercial agreement to reprint the columns.”

Let’s say that again. Tim Martin – ale aficionado, pub entrepreneur, enthusiast for the hardest of hard Brexits – owns a magazine which is simply lifting other publications work, and republishing it.

One of the pieces that Wetherspoons News has “borrowed”, as it turns out, was written for the very website you are reading right now, by our much missed former colleague Amelia Tait. And so, in the name of harmony and friendship, we at the New Statesman would like to make Tim Martin an offer:

Republish this column. Republish this, Tim Martin, and then provide a comment – you weird, creepy looking, self-important, Peter Stringfellow-a-like, Hard Brexit Twat. Yes, this is one is free. The rest you will have to pay for.

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