A Museum of Brexit is to open in Boston or Peterborough in the next two years, according to reports in The Telegraph.
The locations have emerged as the preferred sites out of a shortlist of 50 potential locations.
People in both areas voted overwhelmingly to leave in the 2016 EU Referendum, with 76 per cent voting out in Boston – earning the south Lincolnshire town the title of Britain’s Brexit capital.
The museum aims to tell a fair and balanced story of Brexit, as well as chronicling Britain’s economic and political links to Europe since the 1950s.
Lee Rotherham, a former special projects director at Vote Leave and a trustee of the museum, told The Telegraph: “In the end, we have decided that the two buildings most suitable for our needs are in the town of Boston in Lincolnshire or the city of Peterborough.
“Both of these buildings would match the requirements of the museum in display space, archive space, and the ability to run educational programmes.
“What is vital is that this project is sustainable, financially and historically. We are not looking at the next 10 years, we are looking at the next 100.”
The Museum of Brexit was awarded charitable status by the Charity Commission in April this year, which means it can begin fundraising for the £1 million needed to open its doors.
But reaction on social media has been fierce.
Here’s what people had to say:
Enthusiastic Remainers are taking advantage of what was originally dubbed a “festival of Brexit” by Jacob Rees-Mogg in 2018. The plans for “Unboxed – Creativity in the UK”, originally called “Festival UK 2022”, were finally published by Nadine Dorries’ Culture department this week.
Unboxed insists that its projects were commissioned “following an open call and a rigorous selection process” and will be delivered by “hundreds of people” with “a variety of opinions and perspectives”. But one beneficiary that will raise eyebrows is Tour de Moon – “a series of festivals, satellite events, nightlife experiences and a travelling convoy inspired by and, in collaboration with, the moon” (whatever that means).
Tour de Moon’s director, Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian, must be delighted to take part. Days after Britons voted to leave the EU, she posted a message on social media: “‘F— Brexit’. Could not say it better. Let’s all stand against stupidity, manipulation and lies today.”
The festival is being backed by £120 million of taxpayers’ money. Would a bit of gratitude be too much to ask?
Dame Emma’s lightbulb moment
The Duke of Cambridge’s Earthshot Prize ticked all the green credentials, banning A-listers from flying in especially for the awards show and asking them to wear an old outfit. Low-energy lights lit the stage, and an army of Peloton-style cyclists generated electricity to power a set by virtue -signalling rockers Coldplay at the Alexandra Palace in London.
But the eco-friendly approach did not work for everyone. Dame Emma Thompson’s microphone failed when she was handing out a prize. The Hollywood actress’s excuse was edited out by the television producers. But she told those in the audience that she had managed to damage her microphone in the ladies’ loo in the dim lighting. Or as she put it: “I broke my mic by dropping it down the lav.” That’s (eco) showbiz!
A taxing engagement
Boris Johnson and David Cameron renewed their 35-year-old rivalry at a No 10 dinner on Wednesday to mark the 20th anniversary of them all arriving as MPs at the 2001 general election.
Johnson sat in the middle of the long table in the state dining room, with Cameron at one end and George Osborne, another member of the 2001 intake, at the other in a rare reunion of the Bullingdon Club pals.
Two dozen current and former Conservative MPs – including Lord Barker of Battle and organiser Chris Grayling – were in attendance. The highlight was a speech by the PM. Then Cameron replied on behalf of the guests, saying: “You’re the Prime Minister, I am just a former prime minister – but at least in my day we cut taxes’.”
One eyewitness said: “It was pretty lighthearted. It was not really barbed, it was teasing but this is still going on after 35 years [when they were at Eton together]. It was a convivial evening.”
Johnson will reflect that this kind of teasing – days before the Budget next week – was exactly what he got up to when Cameron was in No 10, and he wasn’t.
Johnson & Johnson
An expat and his family trying to move from Romania to Scotland have been warned to expect a six-month wait for a Brexit visa.
Geophysicist Paul Lyon, 41, from the Wirral, said he has been forced to move into a one-bedroom flat in Romania with his wife and two kids.
The dad, who works in the oil and gas sector, said he hoped to move to Aberdeen when his visa was granted for work.
The delays though have left his family in limbo and unable to work.
And his teen stepdaughter is also unable to go to school.
Paul, married to Chilean Elizabeth, 40, said: “When I see Priti Patel claiming visa processes are being cleared within 12 weeks, it makes me so angry.
“We applied in June and are still waiting. Our lawyer has warned us it could take six months.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Each case is considered as quickly as possible and on its individual merits.”
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‘Not working for this island!’ Jersey fishers slam Brexit deal as French cripple business Our Community Now at Washington, D.C.
Peterborough has been short-listed to house a new £1m Museum of Brexit.
The only other place to get on the short-list is Boston, Lincolnshire.
A final decision is expected early next year.
Dr Lee Rotherham, who has led the museum team in finding and appraising the options for a permanent site said, “This has been a long and involved process.
“Each of the 50 initial locations were put through a matrix of 14 criteria.
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“This brought the long list down to a point where we could review individual sites on a separate set of fresh criteria relating to the buildings themselves.
This was a difficult task as there are some remarkable sites out there.
City Centre , Peterborough
Thursday 30 July 2020.
Picture by Terry Harris.
– Credit: © Terry Harris
He said: “In the end we have decided that the two buildings most suitable for our needs are in the town of Boston in Lincolnshire, or the City of Peterborough.
“Both of these buildings would match the requirements of the museum in display space, archive space, and the ability to run educational programs.
“What is vital is that this project is sustainable, financially and historically. We are not looking at the next 10 years, we are looking at the next hundred.”
He said talks were ongoing to create a museum “that will be able to talk about the history of Brexit, but also the longer story of the United Kingdom’s sovereignty”.
City Centre Sunset,
City Centre , Peterborough
Friday 31 July 2020.
Picture by Terry Harris.
– Credit: Terry Harris
Dr Rotherham says it will also reflect international ties of trade and culture and the “personal stories that bring this epoch-making period of our history to life”.
He says The Museum of Brexit is supported by many on both sides of the referendum question, and aims to provide a fair and balanced view of the campaign and what led up to the campaign.
The Museum of Brexit will contain a library and archive collection for academics and provides “apolitical support on matters relating to Brexit, especially within the EU itself.”
The museum won charity commission status earlier this year and is now looking to raise the cash it needs.
In Peterborough 61 per cent voted leave: in Boston 76 per cent voted leave.
If funding is secured the museum could open as early as 2023.
Around half of senior finance executives polled by Big Four accountancy EY expected Brexit to drive more jobs out of London, despite prime minister Boris Johnson’s claims that the City remains an attractive destination for bankers to continue doing business.
EY asked 43 bosses at London’s banks, asset managers and insurance firms in mid-October if they expected their firms to shift more people or assets to the European Union as a result of the UK’s split from the bloc. Just under half, or 48%, said such moves were likely,…
To travel during Covid times is in a sense an act of insanity. The struggle to stay safe and celebrate freedom. But let’s ditch the faux philosophy for now. Wearing a mask on a long intercontinental journey contained within a kernel of freedom. While feeling sorry for the cabin crew in their full PPE kit. It was another matter that once we landed at Heathrow, whaaat? No masks?
I cannot tell a lie, dear reader, we pulled off our masks for at least 10 minutes, with the excuse that you can’t drink coffee with a mask on.
The sense of freedom was palpable in the UK in mid-September. Let’s not blame them. The stranglehold of the pandemic was such that all societies now strain at the leash for freedom. Try and think of our various festivals and events and election rallies before we point. Okay lecture over. The phenomenon of Brits yearning for nightclubs and pubs was tied to the weirdness of Brexit and fears of shortages. For us though, it was fear of the UK’s National Health Service. Years of colonial subjugation and its intractable rules apparently get transmitted genetically. (I joke, I joke, at least I think I do.)
Those “test and trace” rules, fears of 10,000 GBP fines, the anxiety of not knowing where or when someone will check up on you, the misery of being fleeced royally by private labs for RT-PCR tests… it all weighed up. Sit in one room, only go out for 20 minutes of exercise, keep a couple of metres between you and other residents of the house.
Well. The three tests we paid for — two mandatory tests on Days 2 and 8, and one in the “test to release” scheme for Day 5 — arrived on Day 4 of the 10-day quarantine period. The same day as we had the one and only visit from the NHS person. Who met us at the gate with our passports, and disappointingly asked nothing about how many metres we had ensured between us and how many minutes of exercise in the outdoors and so on from the strict imperial-style rules.
The Day 5 test results arrived on Day 7, which meant that our “test to release” was a strength test in patience and a cause of frustration. Small pennies compared to massive disasters. I hear you.
We squeezed out of the rules and into “freedom” after we tested negative for the third time in 10 days, having scraped our epiglottises and noses.
Only to find some supermarket shelves empty and a massive uproar over fuel shortages. Huge queues at petrol pumps were matched by panic. Almost as bad as the toilet paper pandemonium reported in the early days of the pandemic. Between the news and social media and the queues one saw for oneself, it was hard to know where the truth lived. A few miles out of Nottingham where we were when the shortage struck, there were no queues, no signs saying “no fule” and no crisis. On TV, they blamed social media, the people, the shortage of lorry drivers but almost no one discussed why there were no lorry drivers.
I mislead you here. No one actually said “lorry drivers”. As a sign of how much languages change in usage and geography and colonial times, TV kept saying no “HGV drivers”. I asked Google and realised that TV people in the UK only follow technical driving licence rules when they speak so “heavy goods vehicle” drivers which in India would be “heavy commercial vehicle”.
Why no lorry drivers? Because Brexit. But no one really wanted to say that. So embarrassing for the Boris Johnson Government. Come back, come back, said the Boris Johnson government to the people they turned away with their no more immigrants we don’t like idea. Come back and work for us on temporary visas but please leave on December 24 because we don’t really want to celebrate Christmas with you. How very odd that HGV drivers across Europe didn’t drop whatever they were doing and swim English the channel faster than Tarzan.
If the crux of a developed economy is overdone capitalism, money and spending capacity then the pain at empty pumps, empty shelves and empty pockets thanks to the government withdrawing its pandemic alleviation allowance (there’s some other colonial-style name for it) made you question Brexit. And the pandemic. Signs of shops closing down everywhere. I saw this last in the UK of the 1980s.
How unfair I’m being. Life is not always a comparison. The people were friendly. Never met any racists. At least not openly. The taxi drivers, the bulwark of all travel observations, were a delight as ever. The only difference from a couple of years before is that younger subcontinentals appear to identity as British rather than wherever their grandparents came from. The state of Afghanistan was blamed on Pakistan by those of Pakistani origin as well as the one delightful Afghan we met. Who regaled us with his Hindi, his Bengali and his old Hindi songs. “If my country was like your country,” he said, “I would have left here long ago.” His joie de vivre in spite of his fear for his Afghanistan was matched by the pain of the Syrian who mourned for his home left 20 years ago and his family left behind he may never meet again.
The countryside was beautiful, as autumn colours burst forth. That a dying leaf can cause such joy. Walking through the Bridgewater Gardens in Salford, Manchester, a new project by the Royal Horticultural Society, you had to marvel at the massive love for nature, for preservation, for restoration. A 5 km walk in the freezing rain passed in the blink of an eye as you took in walled gardens, old woodland paths, Chinese planting and plans for wild meadows.
A visit from the fire department to check the smoke alarms at a relation’s home underlined how systems can work. Without complications, without dare-I-say-it bribery, and with efficiency and compassion. At the same time, the bogey of privatising Britain’s best national assets like the NHS also raised its head.
The pandemic should have taught us that health has to be public. But as we returned to India and compulsory RT-PCR testing by private labs at Delhi airport, ah well. Human nature trumps all however far you travel.
Details of the revamped Festival of Brexit, which is no longer called the Festival of Brexit, emerged on Thursday, and throughout the day I laughed every time I remembered an item called Tour de Moon. This will be a sort of rave that is “inspired by, and in collaboration with, the moon”. I kept imagining the phone call: “Hi, is that the moon?” “Yes, it is I.” “Great, great. Hope you’re well. You looked amazing last time I looked up, all fat and harvesty. Now look, moon, we want to do a thing where a DJ rings you up and you just kind of vibe together and it’s really beautiful and mellow. Is that OK? Can we say you’re on board?” “Of course. Call