The usual throng of tourists were gawping at the lines of people queuing up outside the Odeon Leicester Square last night, camera phones at the ready – some even clutched autograph books. But the pages were destined to remain blank. This wasn’t the UK premiere of Alice Through the Looking Glass, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter, but Brexit: The Movie and famous faces were there none.
Unless you were a right-wing political anorak, in which case you were in heaven. First on to the red carpet were Nigel Farage and Kate Hoey, whom he described as his date for the evening. Then came the Brexit campaign’s heavy artillery – Nigel Lawson, Dan Hannan, David Davis, Jacob Rees-Mogg, John Redwood, Steve Baker, Mark Littlewood, Dr Eamonn Butler, James Cleverly – followed by the journalist foot-soldiers: Matt Ridley, Melanie Phillips, Simon Heffer, Claire Fox, James Delinpole, Janet Daley, Paul Staines, Alex Wickham and Toby Young, to name a few.
Brexit: The Movie is the contribution to the cause of Martin Durkin, the talented, libertarian filmmaker famous for documentaries that challenge the liberal status quo: The Great Global Warming Swindle, The Rise and Fall of GM and Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story. No Establishment British broadcaster would sponsor his pro-Brexit film – of course not – so he had to finance it through crowdsourcing and some of the doc’s 1,800 backers were in the audience last night.
“This is about democracy and freedom,” he said, introducing the film, “and the importance of regaining our right to elect the people who are in charge and to kick them out when we don’t want them.”
I was seated behind Paul Staines, owner of the Guido Fawkes website, who produced a sausage from his pocket wrapped in silver foil just before the film began. “In case Katie Hopkins turns up,” he told me, a reference to her promise to run naked down Regent Street with a sausage up her bum if Sadiq Khan won the London mayoral election. Alas, she didn’t materialise.
The rumour circulating in the auditorium was that Aaron Banks and Andy Wigmore, two of the leading figures in the Leave.eu campaign, had decided to boycott the event because Durkin neglected to interview them and because there’s no mention of immigration in his film. Apparently, they had urged Farage to do the same, but without success.
Needless to say, Brexit: The Movie went over like gangbusters with this audience, who whooped and hollered every time one of the talking heads said something they agreed with, which was 90 per cent of the time. But the biggest cheer of the night went to Durkin, who unveiled his plan in case the British people don’t vote Leave on June 23rd. “I think we should take a leaf out of the EU’s book and if Remain wins we just don’t accept it,” he said.