The Top 10: Promises to Leave the Country If a Vote Goes the Wrong Way

In chronological order...

1. Oliver Cromwell. “Probably the earliest and surely the most momentous,” said Ned Holt. He said he would have sold all his property and left England – by implication for the New World – if parliament failed to pass the Grand Remonstrance, addressing the failures of Charles I’s government, in December 1641.

2. UB40, the reggae band who sang “If It Happens Again” in 1984, after the 1983 election, which the Conservatives won with a 144-seat majority: “If it happens again I’m leaving / I’ll pack my things and go.” Thanks to Ken Ferrett.

3. Paul Daniels said he’d leave if Labour won in 1997, although he claimed his words had been “telescoped”. The News Quiz said: “A nation mourns. But we don’t know which nation as we don’t know where he’s going.” Thanks to Matthew Redgrave and James Vaughan. Frank Bruno and Andrew Lloyd Webber were also said to have made similar pledges, but they denied it. None of them left. Phil Collins (the Genesis drummer, not the Tony Blair speechwriter), on the other hand, did move two years later – to Switzerland. Nominated by John Brewin and Tom Robinson. And Jim Davidson moved to Dubai seven years later in 2004. Thanks to Paul Ovenden.

4. Barbra Streisand said after George W Bush was elected in 2000: “I don’t think you’ll see me around here for at least four years.” Robert Altman, the director, had said before the election: “If George Bush is elected president, I’m leaving for France.” They both stayed in the country.

5. Susan Sarandon said if John McCain won in 2008, “I’ll be checking out a move to Italy. Maybe Canada, I don’t know.” Tina Fey said in 2008, of Sarah Palin, her double and McCain’s vice-presidential running mate: “If she wins, I’m done. I can’t do that for four years. And by ‘I’m done,’ I mean I’m leaving Earth.”

6. Rush Limbaugh, the Republican radio host, claimed in 2010 that he would leave the US if Obamacare passed. “If this passes and it’s five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented, I am leaving the country. I’ll go to Costa Rica.” Most of Obamacare was implemented in 2014 and he is still there.

7. Paul O’Grady said he would “move to the Lido in Venice” if David Cameron stayed as prime minister after the 2015 election. Still here.

8. Ken Livingstone said he would consider “emigrating to somewhere the economy is not going to collapse” if the country voted for Brexit in 2016. Still here. Nominated by Enis Koylu.

9. Cher said in 2015 about the possibility of Donald Trump as president: “If he were to be elected I’m moving to Jupiter.” She was one of many potential emigres. Whoopi Goldberg said: “Maybe it’s time for me to move.” Miley Cyrus vowed to “move out da country” after Trump took the lead in the Republican primary race. Jon Stewart said: “I would consider getting on a rocket and going to another planet.” All still there.

10. Alan Sugar. To bring us up to date, Lord Sugar prompted this list by saying in December that, if Jeremy Corbyn “becomes prime minister of this country, I am out; I am leaving”. We will see.

Next week: Pop songs based on classical music, starting with “This Night” by Billy Joel, based on Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata

Coming soon: Asymmetrical animals, such as plaice

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