COMMENT Why we staged 'Strexit' April Fool
FOR those of you who read our April Fool's Day story about a campaign group that was calling for Stratford-upon-Avon's Brexit-style independence, here's a word from the fictional group about why they wanted to run the story....
John King and Richard Vos said: "What we were aiming to do was to inject a bit of humour into the Brexit debate, which has got somewhat bogged down in sterile circular arguments.
"Humour can cut through the ice where intellectual arguments fail. It can also be therapeutic.
"Laughter is the best medicine, as they say. So in healing the wounds of a deeply divided nation, it should have some value.
"We have certainly found that is true in the case of the Brexit café, a local initiative, which has brought together Remainers and Leavers for friendly discussions.
"Whilst not comedy, this relies on good humour. At the national level there are initiatives such as the ‘Number 10 Vigil’ - live songs and entertainment featuring a lookalike Boris Johnson, which is no longer confined to Downing Street but has been travelling around the country on the Brexit Truth Bus.
"Satire is often the best way to make serious points. For example, the folly of the First World War was poignantly highlighted by the film Oh! What a Lovely War, and with no loss of respect for the great fallen.
Similarly “The town that wants its own Brexit” highlights the constraints of parochial thinking, with no loss of respect for Leavers.
"Obviously, there is always the risk of offending people with a different sense of humour or none at all. But is any issue so sacrosanct that it is beyond the reach of parody? Probably not.
"Even the crucifixion was not exempt from being tackled by the Monty Python team, with their unforgettable advice to always look on the bright side of life. By comparison, Brexit should be a piece of cake!
"All the same, mindful that politics is always a touchy subject, we checked the script to make sure it would resonate with people irrespective of how they voted. On obtaining almost universal positive reaction, we went ahead with the project.
"The mock protest turned out to be great fun. Passers-by joined in the general merriment and helped with our photo-shoot.
"Stratford felt like the right place for an April fool’s initiative, the Jester statue near Shakespeare’s birthplace being inscribed with lines such as these:
THE FOOL DOTH THINK HE IS WISE. BUT THE WISE MAN KNOWS HIMSELF TO BE A FOOL, As You Like It.