Brexit covers the newspapers these days like a tramp's vomit, but it isn't the first time Britain has considered leaving a large international organisation - it nearly happened in 1886. While the British Empire was approaching its peak, there was a small movement for Britain to leave it. Coincidentally, it was led by my great-uncle, also named Sir Geoffroy Cockface.
Sir Geoffroy was trouserer to Prince Albert, who had sadly passed away years before. Nevertheless Queen Victoria insisted that his body be stuffed and mounted inside Buckingham Palace, and his trousers needed changing daily to avoid the terrible stench of his decaying corpse. It was Sir Geoffroy's job to keep the trousers looking and smelling fresh.
During a casual conversation in the palace, Sir Geoffroy commented to Lord Winklebottom that Britain was in danger of being weighed down by the responsibilities of having such a large empire. He suggested that it would be better if Britain were to "take back control" of its own land, and perhaps even try to form an empire closer to home, for example, by invading Belgium.
He calculated that Britain spent £350 a week funding its empire, money which could be spent on top hats and coal instead. However, it was pointed out to Sir Geoffroy that Britain made most of its money by exploiting its subjects throughout the globe, and losing the Empire would cost at least £800 a week.
The movement reached its peak in 1887 with a "Grand Brexit Ball" held in Kensington. Sir Geoffroy made a speech in which he said, "Antipodeans, Indians, Pygmies and other fuzzy-wuzzies all take our money and force us to rule over them. It's about time we ended this madness." He then unveiled a painting showing New Zealanders leaving Britain on a ship, with the caption "They used to be British, now they're just dirty foreigners".
Soon after, Sir Geoffroy lost his job when he was caught fondling the Prince's corpse. He claimed he was re-measuring the inside leg, because the decaying body was constantly changing size. Nevertheless he was sentenced to death for treason, and his idea for an early Brexit died with him.
Sir Geoffroy was hanged in 1888. Owing to the severity of his crimes, he was hanged upside-down. He dangled by his feet for nearly four days before he died of starvation.