Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), Dutch School. The Garden of Earthly Delights. Detail of the Right Part of the Triptych: Hell. 1500-1505. Oil and Grisaille on wood, 2.06 x 3.86 m. Madrid, museo del Prado. (Photo by: Christophel Fine Art/UIG via Getty Images)
Detail from 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' by Hieronymus Bosch showing hell © Getty

European Council President Donald Tusk’s comment that there is “a special place in hell” for those who led the Brexit campaign with no plan for how it might work, raises the question of what hell might look like for a leading Leaver. So with apologies to Rowan Atkinson . . . 

Hello there and welcome to hell. I’m afraid the Devil couldn’t be here himself, but I’m his chef de cabinet. You can call me Martin. 

It’s my job to show you round, get you settled in. Now listen, I know you’ll have heard some bad things about this place but pay no notice, that’s just Project Fear. Well, yes, technically, there are fires of hell, but as you like to say it’s nothing more than “a bit of short-term pain” — well, apart from the short-term bit. You can go anywhere you like while you are here, but obviously you aren’t going to be able to Leave. But don’t worry, you still get a nice burgundy passport.

I’m sorry what was that? You were hoping you could get to heaven from here. I see, all of a sudden we’re enthusiasts for freedom of movement, are we? Sadly, I’m afraid there is a hard border with paradise at the moment. We were promised a technological solution for frictionless travel but it’s not quite worked out yet. IT, eh? Still, with your great British ingenuity it can only be a matter of time. The good news is that we are in the same customs union, so if you need any harps we can get them here pretty quickly. You wouldn’t like heaven anyway. It’s full of Swedes and you have to make your own furniture

And here we are on the third circle of hell. These are your rooms. You are sharing with the rest of the damned, but I’m sure you’ll rub along well. It’s rather like boarding school, if any of you went? All of you! Super. Well you’ll have no problem pooling your sovereignty a bit then.

OK, if we head on down to the fourth circle. That’s where we’ll find most of the shops. You’ll get everything you need here: burn spray, spike-repellent undergarments, nose-pegs, lederhosen. You’ll need euros of course, it’s the only currency we accept here apart from your eternal soul — and you don’t want to use that for everyday purchases. Yes, they only speak Polish in the shops. Don’t worry; you’ve got an eternity to learn.

Ah yes, that piped music you can hear is on constantly. It comes direct from our concert hall. It’s Beethoven’s Ninth today. Actually it’s Beethoven’s Ninth every day.

What’s that? No I’m afraid we don’t have a Majestic Wines, but there’s a Nisa on the corner. I don’t think they have an extensive range of champagne, but cider gets the party going just as well. There’s also a Wetherspoons. Yes, he’s surprised too.

Oh hello, Mr Johnson. I didn’t recognise you with the buzz cut. Yes we brought that barber in specially, along with Jean Paul Gaultier who is doing Mr Rees-Mogg’s kilt suits. Well yes, you can raise a complaint if you like but you’ll need to speak to your MEP. I haven’t seen yours for a while I’m afraid. He’s German by the way, you’ve not said anything to upset them have you?

Now if we head down to the seventh circle, this is where you can find the TV room. No I’m afraid we don’t have Dad’s Army — in fact there are no jokes about the war here — but we do have Heimat on a permanent loop and our sports channel has live coverage of all the big petanque matches. Yes, I know you Brexit boys thought you’d be getting wall-to-wall BBC in hell, but credit us with a little imagination. 

There’s also a history channel. It’s got a fabulous 900-part series on the evils of empire, which you’ll be watching for at least two hours every day. We do have The Great British Bake Off, but you’ll find it’s always won by a member of a minority community. You’re quite right, its political correctness gone mad. Hell, isn’t it?

Now if you could fill out these forms in German, Spanish and Italian, we’ll need your name, your plan for Brexit, your height in centimetres and your weight in kilos, obviously.

Yes look, I know it’s a shock but don’t be too down. I hear the European Research Group has a detailed plan to get you all out. Oh dear, was it something I said?


Letter in response to this column:

Not all Leavers went to boarding school / From Colin Armstrong, Belfast, UK

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