The United Kingdom’s referendum on membership of the European Union in 2016 did not bring out the best in British politics. London poet Lallafa Jeltz, staunch socialist and proud Europhile, felt the urge to do something to stop the UK taking the stupidest decision ever. So it was that she took the fight to the social-media soapbox that is Twitter through the medium of a topical haiku a day. In the midst of the madness, the rabid arguments and debates, the poet wandered lonely as a clown.
More than three years later, the dust has yet to settle. Brexit: A Haiku Diary is not just a collection of poetry, but also a succinct record and timely reminder of what was making press headlines at the time. Warning: contents may cause readers to despair at British politics all over again.
(First published 22 September 2019; approx 10,000 words.)
Cover artwork by WyrdStar.
Lallafa Jeltz is the pen-name of a London-based writer, whose hobbies include confusing tourists, drawing moustaches on newspaper pictures of celebrities and shouting at the screen during BBC's Question Time. Jeltz's first poetry collection, Democracy: An Epitaph, is published by WyrdStar.
Lallafa can contacted via Twitter [@lallafa_jeltz].
Political poet Lallafa Jeltz looks back to 2016 and her Twitter haiku campaign during the UK's referendum on EU membership...
...Back in the increasingly tedious world of the referendum campaign, former Conservative Prime Minister John Major spoke up in favour of remaining in the EU. His own time in power in the 1990s was marred by internal squabbles over the UK’s policy towards Europe, which ultimately weakened the Conservative Party to the extent they became unelectable. Deposed by Tony Blair and New Labour’s general election landslide of 1997, the Tories remained out of power for 13 years. Meanwhile, the prospect of leaving the EU was having an adverse effect on financial markets, despite the assurances of Boris Johnson.
John Major’s warning
“Brexit is bad!” says man who
Saw true Tory angst
Brexit has poll lead
Pound plummets against dollar
Boris bumbles on
A non-EU story that briefly grabbed the headlines was a Committee inquiry into sportswear retailer Sports Direct. Serious allegations had come to light regarding working conditions and the mistreatment of staff. It was alleged that founder Mike Ashley was running the company like a Victorian Workhouse.
Workhouse not warehouse
Sports Direct probed by MPs
Big business foul play
Back in the world of the EU referendum, there was a big push from all sides to get everyone who was eligible to vote onto the register. In the UK, for years it had been the responsibility of the head of the household to register everyone at that address. The introduction of individual electoral registration in 2014 led to a lot of people falling off the list. A surge of online applications ahead of the registration deadline for the EU referendum threw up new problems for the Government.
Voting registration woes
Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston quit as a cheerleader for Brexit and began campaigning to remain, citing the lies over National Health Service funding. Vote Leave’s campaign bus carried the slogan: “We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead.” The ‘£350 million’ figure was easily shown to be yet another lie (the actual figure is around half this due to rebates and EU funding for projects). Boris Johnson stills refutes this deceit...
...And much more, in Lallafa Jeltz's ranting recap of the political madness that cast the UK adrift!
CHAPTER TITLES: Preface / A Referendum Is Announced / Belief Is Bad Policy / The Campaign Commences / No Impartial Truths / The Final Countdown / Aftermath.
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