Pub chain JD Wetherspoon is printing up beer mats calling for a Brexit — Britain exiting the European Union — ahead of the June 23 referendum on EU membership.
Somewhat confusingly, the text on the mat attacks the International Monetary Fund (IMF), not the EU.
The IMF, often called the central bank’s central bank, is an international body based in Washington that promotes free trade and prudent financial policy. It also helps countries in financial crisis, most recently bailing out Greece. While it has close links to the EU, it is separate.
The beer mat specifically targets IMF chief Christine Lagarde, highlighting the fact that she is facing a trial in France over a €400 million payout to a controversial French businessman who supported Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007 presidential race.
Wetherspoon says in a press release announcing the beer mats that Lagarde has been specifically targeted because of her support for the “Remain” campaign. Earlier this month Lagarde said the IMF saw “no positives” for a Brexit and that the consequences could be “pretty bad to very, very bad,” although she admitted that “we have on occasions been wrong.”
Martin says in a release announcing the beer mats: “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.
“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 integrity and her bona fides as a national advisor, as well as that of the IMF, are a legitimate and important concern.”
Here’s the full text of the front of the beer mat:
Dear Madame Lagarde, At Wetherspoon, we sincerely respect and admire the French people and your country, but note that you are due to stand trial in France for your part in authorizing a
400 million euro payment by the French state to Bernard Tapie — a supporter of your political party.
This follows the resignation, in disgrace, of your predecessor at the IMF — Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Why should we trust the IMF?
The back of the beer mat asks these questions:
— Is the governance of the IMF better than FIFA’s?
— Did anyone elect you?
— Why is Greece in such trouble after six years of IMF advice?
— Has the IMF warned the Eurozone that no currency, in history, has survived without a single government?
Martin says in the release announcing the mats: “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.”
Here’s the design for the back of the mat: