EU Referendum

"Pub landlord" Al Murray ridicules Wetherspoon's Brexit beer mats

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

"Pub landlord" Al Murray ridicules Wetherspoon's Brexit beer mats

Related tags Beer mats International monetary fund Voting Democracy

JD Wetherspoon’s distribution of 200,000 Brexit beer mats has kicked up a storm this week - and even led ‘pub landlord’ Al Murray to wade in with his critique.

The mats, which compare the International Monetary fund to FIFA in a bid to persuade a leave vote in the EU referendum, are the latest stage in a long line of campaigning tactics from Wetherspoon’s founder Tim Martin.

The move breaks one of the all-time golden rules of pubs, according to Murray.

Writing for the Guardian, ​he quips: “Never talk about politics.


"But when it comes to something as monumental as the issue of remaining or leaving the EU, I have to step out from behind the pumps, roll up my shortsleeved shirtsleeves and get involved.

“Mr Martin’s move is bold. If, as they say, the medium is the message, then the message is don’t ruin the woodwork with nasty moisture staining.”

Murray speculates Wetherspoon’s customers are ‘exactly the sort of people’ susceptible to the kinds of arguments put forward by Martin – which include attacking the IMF’s managing director, Christine Lagarde, for “your part in authorizing a 400 million euro payment by the French state to Bernard Tapie – a supporter of your political party".


The mats read: "Is the governance of the IMF is better than FIFA’s? Did anyone elect you?”


“One thing Mr Martin’s beer mat says is that no one voted for the IMF. Now, I don’t want to be a picky git, but no one voted for him either. Whereas I have – thanks to the voters of Thanet South – 318 votes in my democratic quiver​,” Murray brags.

Wetherspoon’s mats can be viewed by customers in all 920 of the company’s pubs.

“They are in these places because they are thrifty, they watch their spending. Add to that the fact that any regular pub drinker is imbibing the world’s greatest problem-solving solution – booze – then perhaps the IMF would be better to shut up shop and hand over to my regulars, Steve, Steve, Alan and Steve. With six pints inside him, there’s nothing Steve can’t solve. Not that Steve, the other one,” Murray jokes.

Murray's beer mats

He then reveals his own comical referendum beer mats​, reflecting what he perceives as the exaggerated scaremongering tactics of both leave and remains campaigns.

“The actual problem for you and me – the ordinary voter – is that we have both sides going full on Project Fear. In fact, Project Fear doesn’t do it justice: Project ArmageddonHitler!We’refullup would be a better name. So, in keeping with that, I’ve done some beer mats of my own for you, to reflect the high standard of argument on offer right now,” he adds.

See Murray's comment piece here​.

Tim Martin

JDW’s founder has been vocal about his support for the Brexit campaign​ , donated £200,000​ and pledged to visit 100 of his pubs​ to convice people to vote leave.

He said: “The governance issues within the IMF, are, in my opinion, very serious for UK citizens.

“The government has paraded a number of financial institutions in front of the public, who have, in my view, grossly distorted our financial prospects in the event of a Brexit.

“One of these is the IMF, whose boss Christine Lagarde is due to stand trial in France for her role in authorizing a payment to French businessman Bernard Tapie of 400 million euros.

“Her predecessor was Dominique Strauss-Kahn who resigned in disgrace.

“Corporate governance at the IMF is clearly out of control and Christine Lagarde would have been obliged to resign at any normal Plc or institution until the matters in question were resolved.

“The UK public have been asked to rely on her comments by both George Osborne and David Cameron in the forthcoming referendum and she must now answer the questions on the beer mats and others that the public may have.

“Christine Lagarde’s intergrity and her bona fides as a national advisor, as well as that of the IMF, are a legitimate and important concern.”

Related topics JD Wetherspoon

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