Saturday, June 25, 2016

My Personal Brexit Hell Part 1

It's more than 10 years since I left Britain and I'm starting to wonder what's happened to it.

Certainly, Thursday night as the Brexit vote was counted was a stressful one. An exit poll suggested the lunatics would be beaten, albeit more narrowly than one might have wished. Like the vote for Scottish independence a year earlier, common sense would prevail.

Common sense is a British kind of thing, along with the occasional tendency to feel a bit superior. Sure the Brits have voted for extremism in the past. WMargaret Thatcher was a bit of an extreme maniac but at least she had a lot more upstairs than Ronald Reagan.

Of course,  Brits have always been a bit uneasy about the Europeans. We spent much of the last few centuries fighting the French and the Germans and before that the Dutch and the Spanish. Our football fans are still rooted in this mentality and we can't get over the fondness of the French for horse meat. It's a bit hard sometimes to understand this mentality, given that half of the country is probably of French descent post-1066. The Normans themselves were descended from the Vikings from Scandanavia and another quarter of the country was populated by Saxon invaders who were from Germany. The real Britons inhabit one village in Wales with a very long name.

I meandered somewhat from Thursday night but you get the idea. I checked the BBC website for the results and my smugness and belief that common sense would prevail was instantly wiped out. The vote for leaving the EU was ahead. Just about every provincial English town and city was voting for an exit. Only the Scots, a nation whose menfolk once day declared 'it's chilly up here - let's wear skirts,' were doing the sensible thing and voting to remain.

At least Boris is happy - sort of


I woke up to disbelief the next morning on social media. I don't have a single English friend who voted for Brexit. I don't know anyone who doesn't think Boris Johnson is a bit of a dick to put it politely,

Boris looked a bit shellshocked himself as he left his home on Friday and made his way past folks yelling "scum" to a press conference where he looked anything but triumphant. The Prime Minister had just resigned, the pound was bombing and half of the people who had voted to leave the European Union were going online to Google what the EU actually was. Boris looked ready to do a Lord Lucan.

The phrase "here's another fine mess you've gotten me into" which is often attributed to the hapless Laurel and Hardy came to mind, although apparently they never uttered it.

In the space of 24 hours, Britain had lost its coolness and those of us who hold passports has lost the chance to live in lots of pleasant white-washed places by the sea where we could drink good wine all day long.

It also meant we could no longer sneer at Americans. Voting for Donald Trump is no more nonsensical than voting for Brexit and America hasn't elected him as its president yet, to be fair.

A day after the catastrophe I'm still looking for silver linings from Brexit. For one thing, I'll be able to go to Britain without having kittens every time I see my bank statement and it doesn't make living in America seem so bad - at least until next January.

It's also given me a new appreciation of Scottish values. The replies to Trump's idiotic Tweet while in Scotland were a case in point. Comparing Trump to a "dehydrated oompa loompa" was one of the politer ones. Please do visit this site. I think I'll email a few to Hillary - perhaps not.


5 comments:

  1. I'm just hoping the comparisons to Trump are overblown. Here's some more recommended reading from the New Yorker!
    http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/british-lose-right-to-claim-that-americans-are-dumber

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    1. oh saw that JoLynne - thanks so much for your comment

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  2. After that vote, the fear that our idiotic population of bigots will also all show up at the polls and vote Trump in. It could very well happen! See what the internet has done - we all have a voice and the ignorant have found theirs!
    The world is changing and the lessons may leave us all breathless!

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    1. yes never overestimate the intelligence of the electorate Yolanda

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  3. Late to the party, here (I've had a belly-full of family/health issues to deal with and no time for swanning about the blogosphere until now).
    Well, I voted Brexit - there, now you can call me insane. Unless, of course, you want to look past the hype and soundbites and really try to understand why people actually voted for Brexit. We are not all xenophobic, racist bigots (and those were some of the 'nicer' comments levelled at me by the so-called more 'intelligent' Remain-ers!) - but when we were persuaded to join the EEC by Edward Heath and his cronies all those years ago we were told it was the European Economic Community - basically a trading pact between nations to boost our relative countries. Since that time, the EEC has morphed into the EU - and slowly, bit by bit, our political powers and laws have been eroded, to the point where we can barely govern ourselves without the EU telling us what to do and when. And it is going to get worse - with a EU Army to which all member states (note that: states, not Sovereign Countries) will be required to pay into and provide personnel, even if we do not agree with it! Also, trial by jury will be done away with - hmm, scrap Magna Carta then!
    Perhaps, also, look at how and why the EEC was first formed after WW2 - it was a pact between Germany, France and the BeNeLux countries to limit Coal, Gas abd Steel production because (mainly) France was scared of Germany being able to re-armour itself.
    Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers behind this forerunner of the EU had this to say:
    "Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation."
    That, my friend, chills my blood!

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