With mounting chaos at Westminster as Theresa May makes a last-ditch attempt to push through her Brexit deal, shanty singers from Cornwall have become a social media sensation with their version of an old favourite: ‘What shall we do with this rotten Brexit’.
The shanty includes various suggestions as to what to do with Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and other leading Brexiters, and was sung by several hundred people from Cornwall at the People’s Vote march in London last Saturday. But it was a video of a large crowd in Truro singing it at a rally held in solidarity with the London marchers that is being shared widely on Twitter and Facebook.
shows some 300 people outside Truro Library laughing uproariously as they sing:
What shall we do with Jacob Rees-Mogg?
Put him offshore where he keeps his money!
What shall we do with Nigel Farage?
Send him off to Trump with a one-way ticket
The shanty also has a suggestion as to what needs to happen to break the current deadlock at Westminster:
What shall we do with this rotten
Let’s have a vote and see who wants it!
Tom Scott of
Cornwall for Europe, the Falmouth-based poet and lecturer who adapted the
“Lots of people have been in touch with us to say that the sight of hundreds of us from Cornwall singing this shanty and our People’s Vote version of Trelawny, under a sea of St Piran flags, was one of the highlights of the march. But I think what’s caught the imagination of people on social media is to see so many ordinary people in Cornwall gathered together to express their opposition to this Brexit mess.
“The words of the shanty have cheered people up at a time when a very bleak future seems to be looming for Cornwall and the UK as a whole. Humour can be a powerful political weapon, and the sheer absurdity of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson voting for a deal which they have previously said will turn the UK into a ‘slave state’ deserves to be laughed at.
“These politicians have pushed Britain to the brink of disaster and they are refusing to take any responsibility for the catastrophic mess that they have created, attempting to blame everyone but themselves.”
Cornwall for Europe has been running street stalls all over Cornwall for over a year, and the group says that everywhere they go they find strong opposition to Brexit and many people who voted Leave in 2016 who have changed their minds.
“What’s really changed is that Brexit is no longer an abstract proposition built on windy rhetoric,” says the group’s Chair, Emmanuelle Brook. “People can see that they were lied to about all that extra money from the NHS and all those wonderful trade deals.
“Many people in Cornwall are already experiencing negative impacts form Brexit, or have friends and relatives who are – lost business, lost jobs and intense anxiety about what the future holds.
“One man from Camborne told us that the carers from the EU who were looking after his mother, who suffers from dementia, are all returning home. A man who runs a medical equipment manufacturer told us that he has already lost over a million pounds in business and is having to make plans to lay off staff. A crab fisherman from Looe told us that his business exporting live crab and lobster faces ruin if tariffs make his exports uncompetitive and customs checks and red tape mean that his catch is rotting by the time it reaches customers in Spain.
“We are talking to hundreds of people, week in, week out, on the streets of towns all over Cornwall. We know that Brexit no longer has majority support here, and every national opinion poll has shown that this is true for the whole of the UK, and has been for at least the last year. Our group has seen hundreds of new members joining every week, and we now have more social media followers than all the political party pages in Cornwall combined.
“People are sick of Brexit and want to be able to express this. They want to be consulted on the best way forward out of this disaster. And with Parliament totally divided and unable to agree on a solution, we think there is only one way to settle this once and for all.
“In the words of our shanty: Let’s have a vote and see who wants it!.”