Oh Britain. Two dimwitted game show contestants won a car, neither of them can drive, and bless ‘em, they mock those they’ve screwed along the way.
England, last conquered in 1066, the last battle on British soil in 1746, first industrialized country, ruler of half the world, last hold out against Nazi Germany, now first out of Europe, you’ve been had. You've been done like a kipper.
Nigel Farage complained of Britain’s lack of influence in Europe, but couldn't control the message on his own bus (what a surprise Donald Trump backed a campaign that lied to old white people) and the nation waits for xenophobic hoodlums to kick Boris out of Britain — or is it the accent that saves him ahead of the country in which he was born?
I've participated in two EU elections in the UK. Voter turnout on both occasions was 36%. If you think that’s low, how about 24% the year after I left the UK? Voter turnout has never been higher than 38%. Therein lies a clue to Britain’s relationship with Europe. Few people ever gave a shit.
I remember precious little of the elections because coverage in traditional media was practically non-existent. The political class and media always had a binary relationship with the EU; like it, not like it, in or out. In the 80’s and 90’s they never engaged with the public in a manner warranted given its importance. Brussels was a bureaucratic outpost tolerated if only to have the piss taken out of it.
In the 1990's the European Commission set up a website to debunk the myths of the British media such as the EU appointing aristocrats to monitor wine labelling, milk jugs to be banned, and cows having to wear nappies (diapers). Funny, yes, but it speaks volumes of attitude.
Referendums are a nonsense, particularly in countries where it's not part of the political culture. They're easily hijacked as Metro Vancouver residents witnessed (and participated in) last year, and with a 50+1 determinant they're exceptionally divisive. While 52% is a majority, it hardly screams turn the country upside down and shake it several times to see what falls out. 75% would be a significant majority, irrefutable, like the 75% of 18-24 year olds who voted to Remain. Those older, who claim not to be xenophobes and voted to leave, should be chilled by this fact because there is no chamber of sober second thought.
Perhaps future referendums of this nature should be weighted in favour of those younger, say four points for those aged between 18-30, three for those between 31-50, and… you get the idea.
While swathes of Britain feel disconnected to their political masters, and the vote was a reflection of their malcontent, in September last year 38% wanted to leave the EU not 52%. With positions so fluid, so exposed to dirty rotten lies, damn the commentators and politicians who think the other 48% should meekly accept the outcome. It's not as if it were a referendum on how many goldfish should be allowed into a pond, or if juice with pulp should be banned.
I hope the UK has a general election with the referendum as its central issue with every candidate clear on their position. This would give parliament legitimacy in overturning the result (should that be the outcome). Britons should stick their fingers up at the Conservatives, Labour, and UKIP.
If Farage and Johnson are Falstaffs, then Britons should see themselves as Prince Hal; duped by their needs to frolic with entertaining liars and those that would thieve them of a brighter future. Maturing is needed (and possible).
And who is Henry IV?
Britain's greatest and most well known PM hovers over the British psyche, defiant, indefatigable, but he's not the future. British youth know this.
*As I posted the original blog in the wee hours of Thursday PDT, Boris was stepping out of the Conservative leadership race, and today, Nigel with his job done, has resigned as leader of Ukip (You Kipper). They'll go back to their cushy lives while everyone else has to pick up the pieces.
It's not all bad news, I can look forward to cheaper single malt as lower prices work their way into the supply chain (in about a year). You see, I will benefit from the UK leaving Europe, maybe I should celebrate.
Watch at minute 8:19