Choose Your Own Brexit
A book review by Andrew Everest
‘Can you Brexit?’ throws you the fantasy political football and lets you run with it.
You are PM, the day after the referendum result. You are in the cockpit to navigate the turbulence inexorably approaching. It must be added. There’s a notionally Conservative PM for authenticity, and as the action unfolds it’s almost possible to feel for your real counterpart – with multiple monkeys on her back, all writing their own script for Brexit, some directing their own movie.
This unusual book lets you choose how the story develops and what the ending, happy or otherwise, is. Fantasy Brexit, put simply.
Like the interactive gamebooks concept pioneered by Stephen Jackson’s Fighting Fantasy adventure series, ‘Can you Brexit?’ dumps Tolkienesque orc-abuse for a ‘choose-your-own adventure’ in the ‘real world’ of politics, where you attempt Brexiting without crashing the country, your party, yourself etc. Will you be Alistair in Blunderland, Priscilla the Peacemaker, or Conan the Parliamentarian? Or will you drown your sorrows in the EU wine lake?
To play ‘Can you Brexit?’ all you need is a pencil, a bookmark (optional) and coin. For those not familiar the format goes like this: You wake up on Brexit day +1, do you
a) Run screaming from Downing Street? turn to section 777
b) Dress and prepare for the press, turn to section 668; traversing the Brexitscape as you go. At time of writing I’m still PM, at stage two of negotiations, but as I flip by sections, I see some scary stuff hovering. Phoney war territory.
The mechanics work, but what is most fun is the backdrop, wittily written narrative vignettes reflecting current events and contemporary politics preceding decision points, coupled with acerbic caricatures of multiple political animals, names changed to protect the not-so-innocent. Spotting them is half the fun.
No fear and very little favour. Some of it is laugh out loud stuff, some a wry chortle. The writing is sharply satirical, but the substance, accurately depicted.
Enlightening, entertaining, engrossing and actually quite ‘Brexciting’, why not give it a go? You’ll learn a lot.
A clever exercise in sharp satire, gaming, subtle situational learning and a stimulating dip into the political fray. It might not be a big fight if you play your cards right. Can you Brexit? Yes, you can!
Or, perhaps not.
• Can you Brexit? By Dave Morris & Jamie Thompson
Spark Furnace 2018 – ISBN 9781909905917
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