Five things that SHOULD be April Fools' Day jokes, but…aren't

Full disclosure: we were going to do an April Fools' Day joke. It's a fun date in every marketer’s calendar, a way to poke fun at the government (or more likely, ourselves). We get to be silly, and joyous, and goofy.

But we just couldn't do it this year. Satire has died. We genuinely could not come up with anything as outrageous, or laughable, or eye-poppingly bizarre as what Westminster has subjected us to since 2019. So, in that vein, here are the greatest hits. Five things that really should, in any normal reality, be April Fools' Day jokes. But… aren't.

5. Nigel Farage turns up to a farmers' protest which was protesting… Brexit

Nigel Farage turned up to a farmers' protest in London last week, looking on as almost 100 tractors and farm vehicles convened in a "go-slow" convoy and drove around Westminster. Turning to camera, he cited the issues farmers are facing - "cheap imports, late payments from the British government, a feeling that the countryside isn't being supported" - with zero acknowledgement that the Brexit he's spent his career campaigning for is to blame.

Let's not forget that prior to Brexit, he openly admitted "agriculture would find it very tough", and when challenged that it could mean people losing their jobs, he said: "there will be winners and losers. There always are." Protest organiser Liz Webster, founder of Save British Farming and campaigning to rejoin the single market, said she had a "good chat" with Nigel about it all… to be a fly on the wall tractor wheel during that conversation!

4. The Tories enter the Twilight Zone

Did you see the Conservatives' new attack ads on Labour London mayor Sadiq Khan? They call London the "crime capital of the world", despite the fact that a) the Met police report to the Home Secretary, not the mayor, and b) people are actually less likely to be victims of crime in London than across the country as a whole. (Although rather a lot of fixed penalty notices seem to have been issued at an address in SW1A 2AA back in 2022…)

Designed like a poor rip-off of the Twilight Zone, complete with hammy American voiceover, the ads show how desperate the Tories are to lessen Sadiq Khan's lead in the polls. So desperate, in fact, that they used footage of people panicking in the New York metro to illustrate a point about London - and had to delete the offending post just a few hours later. One of the ads includes the line, "in the depths of these narrow passageways tread squads of ULEZ enforcers dressed in black, faces covered with masks, terrorising communities". It sounds laughable. It really should be a joke. It isn't. 

3. Lee Anderson. Just Lee Anderson.

Specifically that Lee Anderson has said he won't call a by-election after switching to Reform UK. 

After he voted for the Recall of MPs (Change of Party Affiliation) Bill in 2020. A Bill that stated it was 'clearly a breach of the spirit of the contract between ourselves and our constituents' to change political party' - and would have meant that any defecting MP would become subject to a recall petition. OK then.

2. We're joining a trade bloc…on the other side of the world

After years of the Tories telling us how terrible being part of a trade bloc is, guess what? We're joining a trade bloc! No, not that one. It's the CPTPP, the trans-Pacific trade deal that post-Brexit Britain truly deserves. Naturally, it's only predicted to add 0.04% to UK GDP "in the long run" by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), while the same body calculates the UK economy will be 4% smaller than if we'd stayed in the EU. 

Oh, and the much-vaunted bilateral trade deals the UK signed with Australia and New Zealand? The OBR says they "might increase the level of real GDP by a combined 0.1% by 2035". Meanwhile, the EU has just signed a deal with New Zealand that - shock - is a much better one than we agreed. Turns out being part of the EU, that trade bloc literally on our doorstep, really does help your negotiating power. Who'da thunk it?

1. Prime Minister Liz Truss 

Me and my almost-doubled mortgage bill really wish this one was a joke. Liz 'pork markets' Truss was prime minister for 49 days in autumn 2022, and in that time she:

  • Announced £45 billion of unfunded tax cuts, causing a run on the pound and a crisis in the UK pensions industry
  • Precipitated her downfall in eight disastrous back-to-back local radio interviews
  • U-turned on abolishing the top rate of income tax in a desperate attempt to save her own skin, while Labour's poll lead soared to more than 30 points
  • Was outlasted by a lettuce.

She tried to 'remould the economy'. She certainly managed that. Interest rates and mortgage costs have risen, while growth is still practically nonexistent even 18 months on. But to be fair to her, Liz did succeed in one other regard - she now holds the record for being the UK's shortest-serving prime minister, a title previously held by George Canning, who died in office in 1827.


I'm sure you'll have your own list of greatest hits, the blink-twice-double-take-did-that-actually-happen?! moments so beloved of our political system. If you'd like to join me and bask in our collective incredulity, send me your suggestions on X (or, as I still insist on calling it, Twitter).