So first of all: apparently Google Trend data has shown that there were a Lot of British people googling “What is the EU” – AFTER the referendum to leave said EU. (1)
Haha Oh Man. So let’s just take a moment to enjoy that little gem. So what, Britain, did you guys like … vote first, Then google? Note to self – as modus operandi go, that one is probably about as effective as trying to pee standing up in the dark, on a boat.
(aka “it gets messy.”)
Let this be a reminder to all of us, to always Google before you Referendum.
(keep that in mind, Quebec.)
So if it wasn’t because they knew what the EU actually was (or really even if they did) – what was it that made them vote to leave? How did this even come up?
Well to begin with, like many things in life – it got political.
The current British Prime Minister, David Cameron, thought leaving the EU would be a terrible idea. (Based on the Plummet of the Pound, he may have been right … although we can only hope that the economic crisis is just temporary?)
His argument wasn’t even “Why are you guys racist.” In fact, he is the leader of UK’s Conservative party. His platform was quite simply “Financially speaking this is a bad idea.” Which like, if a conservative tells you “this xenophobic individualistic move would be a terrible idea” – you know its gonna be a terrible idea.
Think of it as the European equivalent of Canada being like “Ok Quebec, you can leave if you want – but then we will no longer be paying for any of your stuff.” And Britain being like “We don’t need you.” Which is now the question – did they?
For Labour-Party (so the Left Wing) leader Jeremy Corbyn, it seems to have been a matter of politics over policy. The ‘Remain Campaign’ had already figured out that the way to win was to get both leaders to advocate staying in the EU together. Jeremy was apparently on board with sticking in the Union.
But PM Cameron had said he would step down if Britain left the UK, and perhaps this was too nice an opportunity for ol’ Jeremy to pass up.
Apparently he was approached a whole lotta times and asked to stand with Cameron – to do rallies with Cameron, to speak up for the “Remain” Campaign, even just to share his voter list with the Tories so they would have people to contact. Jeremy would not stand with the leader of the Tories, did not budge, and this is cited as a huge factor in England voting to leave. (2) Instead, Jeremy gave his own separate appeal to the UK to stay in the EU, which apparently was watery and half hearted at best (3)
So now what? Cameron is stepping down. The Schism of Britain has also apparently run through the Labour Party – Corbyn has said farewell to 7 MPs (so far) including Hilary Benn, sacked from his ‘shadow cabinet,’ who said he is No Leader. What happened there? Some people are saying he should resign, too. A message from his office basically stated that “MPs who continued to speak out against their leader on social media” would “find it a difficult line to hold.” I assume this must be a very British way of saying “will be axed like Benn.”
Was it time to make their Brexit?
So The EU, right. This website does a brilliant job of breaking it down in cartoon form: http://www.vox.com/2016/6/24/12025514/brexit-cartoon
(Below is one of their images that I thought summarized the current situation quite nicely, including with a little nod to the US)
Basically, Europe is -and has always been – like a bunch of hamsters running over each other in a cage. Their Monarchies are all intermarried, and they fight constantly – with disastrous “World War” type results. After the last couple “sibling rivalries” between European nations, like WWII for example, France and Germany said ‘Hey – we’re all like a big family anyway – what if we link up to ensure we won’t fight and also make trade a lot easier between us?’
There are good points to this, like how trade across borders becomes easier – and across oceans too, because the US and Canada can trade with the EU.
There are also negative points, such as less control over who goes over your border, and a more collective economy – which means that if a country goes down, everyone on the ship has to bail together to keep the boat a floating. (for more on the EU, check out this guy: BBC Guide to EU
This, ofcourse, happened with Greece: Greece made some bad decisions (with possibly the banks to blame too, and maybe even German creditors – thats the scuttlebut, but ofcourse nobody blames the banks.) Germany, as the strongest economy in the EU at the time, bore the brunt of bailing em out to keep the ship afloat. Britain got to watch as poor Germany had to pull up Greece by its socks.
(This is a Hilarious Youtube video about the Greek Finance Minister Varoufrakis and the economic situation:
Britain also watched while, after the fact, Angela Merkel – German Prime Minister – chose to punish Greece, instead of letting them move on, in a move that was pleasing the German people but left Greece still suffering. This cruel treatment has been cited as a possible reason for Brexit: that the English saw how Greece was treated, and were like “F*** that.” (4)
(Although, being as Britain is the third largest economy in the EU, I feel like its more likely they didn’t want to be in Germany’s shoes, bailing other countries out of hard times.)
Is that why they left? Well, there are people that will tell you this is the case. But the elephant in the room, the rallying point of the Leave campaign, is something base, rude, ignorant, something that we thought 2016 had left behind in all but the Southern United States:
Racism. Or specifically, fear of other EU immigrants coming to take their jobs.
Xenophobics: Dracula and the Glory of the British Empire
I actually have another post about this already haha –
Blog Post on Racism and Sex including Dracula
Anyway – while it is one of my favourite books, the book Dracula by Bram Stoker was also a racist, fear-mongering demonization of Eastern Europeans coming in and seducing the poor hapless women of the British Empire, and “sucking the blood” of their economy. There’s this one scene especially, one of my favourites, where Dracula hypnotizes Mina into sucking some of his blood back, and its Pretty Steamy. (I guess Twilight could be argued as actually being about beautiful vegetarians having magical powers, like in Scott Pilgrim? lol).
Ah, Britain, back at it again, are we? Have we been listening to our American friend Donald Trump, who echoes Benito Mussolini’s Fascist statement of “Rebuilding The Glory of our Previous Glorious Empire” ?
Thing is … since Collonialism, the British seem to have come a long way. The British were, ofcourse, just another Empire, and the French, Portugese, Spanish, Romans, Austro-Hungarians, Vandals, Ottomans, etc etc were no better. But to my knowledge, they are now extremely multicultural, and – since hosting The Beatles and early Rock and Roll – have become downright progressive. The Queen has issued several public apologies, including one to the remnants of what was once Acadia (and are now scattered bits of french heritage across the US Eastern Seaboard and the Louisiana Swamp culture of “Cajun”) for their forced mass deportation.
So how did these progressive Europeans fall so far backwards??
“Mother Jones” points at the media – specifically “the entire conservative tabloid press, which has spent decades lying about the EU and scaring the hell out of its readership about every grisly murder ever committed by an immigrant.” (4)
Apparently these lying hate mongerers – and she mentions especially Paul Dacre, Editor of the Daily Mail – have been getting the British all worked up and racist again, like it was Bram Stoker in 2016. They have also been publishing literally fake EU legislations to say how dumb they are: to the point that a website has been created to index these lies and show them debunked. (Available here: http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/ECintheUK/euromyths-a-z-index/ )
Mother Jones has published the glorious little infographic that details a bunch of their ridiculous lies, debunked – including “EU will draw up a list of aristocrats to help monitor wine labelling.” Hahahahaha.
But the media is not enough in itself – one needs figure heads to lead the charge towards a Free Britain:
Nigel Farage: leader of the UK Independence Party. From what I glean of his character, he is – politically atleast – a racist and a bad man – and also a key figure in the Leave campaign. Not saying that they are all just xenophobics, but … this one is. (4)
Apparently he is as we speak saying that the UK was headed for a recession anyways, not because of Brexit at all. (5)
Also, he apparently based a big part of his “leave” campaign on the idea that money goint to the EU can go the the NHS (UK health system.) He has now apparently retracted that statement, saying it it ‘No fault of his that certain members of the public were led to believe this.’ (6)
Well hey, if you’re going to be a Numpty, you may as well go all the way…
He is also optimistic that the “pound plummet” will not last long.
Great. We hope so too, you Numpty.
Boris Johnson: #TakeControl
Boris Johnson: Politician, historian, and British “Man About Town.” Quite the public figure, and quite the Euroskeptic. Actually, he’s not a blatant racist – just an intelligent man who shamelessly joined hands with a racist movement and tolerated xenophobic sentiments so long as they went hand in hand with his end game of separating from the EU to ‘take back control’ of the fate of the Britons. (4)
That said, he is also the Rational face of the Leave Campaign – the one arguing that it is in Britain’s best interests, democratically and financially, to leave.
Was Brexit Racist? Boris says no, with this statement:
It is said that those who voted Leave were mainly driven by anxieties about immigration. I do not believe that is so. After meeting thousands of people in the course of the campaign, I can tell you that the number one issue was control – a sense that British democracy was being undermined by the EU system, and that we should restore to the people that vital power: to kick out their rulers at elections, and to choose new ones. (7)
(Actually his first name is Boris, which is almost as Russian as a glass of vodka with breakfast, so maybe he really is on to something.)
Apparently he is currently trying to Maintain control – saying things like “Dont worry, we can still go get jobs in Europe!” and “The Economy is in good hands!”
Oh good. I was so worried, Boris, but you put that to rest. The whole “#PoundPlummet” is just a brief turbulence caused by the winds of change, naturally.
(Actually this is hopefully, for the good of the global economy, True – and change will often create a bubble of uncertainty in which things drop. But I ain’t gonna hold my breath till it comes back up, neither.)
What if he is right?
I mean, I admit – my bias is with the Remain camp, obviously. But I have found an article that suggests that the political system of Britain was broken – led by a corruptible “political class” that cared not for the working man, and that the EU was not the best thing for Britain (12). It argues that (a) the political system of Britain needed a wake-up call, and this was it: and (b) beyond just nationalism and xenophobia, Britains had been losing their sense of self and sense of national identity, and that this is harming their ability to fulfill their potential of ingenuity and productivity.
That said, while the article brought up some interesting points, it also puts me in mind of this brilliant little vid with Sir Patrick Stewart:
So Who Wants to Leave?
The youth, apparently, want to stick around – maybe they are more comfortable with a global economy, or just less worried about Dracula? The ‘over 60’ want to leave, and the middle ages are – as one would almost expect – are in the middle.
Also as to be excpected, the extreme right (like Nigel over there and the UKIP) are very pro Leave, while the extreme Left (the Greens and the Yougov) are pro EU. The Labour-voters (mid left) are divided but over all want to Remain, the Tories (mid right) are divided but over all want to leave – funny how that works, really. (8)
The BlueCollar Working Class were more prone to GTFO (which perhaps makes sense as the immigrants coming in jobless will have hard times, no matter their education, getting Nice jobs, so its the janitors and laymen that have to worry.) University educated and higher income were more Pro EU, although all categories were – ofcourse -mixed.
Funny enough, the clearest dividing lines seemed to run between News-Paper Readership: Readers of the Guardian and the Times were Pro EU, while “Telegraph readers have a net dissatisfaction with the EU, although less than the euroscepticism among readers of the Sun, Mail and Express. ” (8)
Do the Guardian and Times promote the EU, or do people who like the EU read the Guardian and the Times? Probably both – ah, the power of the media.
The Welsh, The Irish, and The Scots
Ofcourse, when one discusses the UK, one is often discussing England: what of those other little countries, so strong in personality but still overshadowed by the Brits in most UK referendums?
The Welsh want Better Healthcare
The Welsh, home of the seat of King Arthur, were overall around the same as the English, with just a Slight tendency towards the Brexit. Apparently their main issue was actually the NHS (healthcare) – which seems reasonable to me. (10). One has to wonder if this is linked to the reports of Nigel’s UKIP campaign promising money would go from the EU to the NHS – if so I imagine the Welsh will not be so happy in the next year or so.
Will the Emerald Isle be Cut by an EU Border?
Northern Ireland was rocked to the core. The Republic of Ireland will remain in the EU, obviously. Over all, Northern Ireland wanted to stay in the EU too – apparently the EU has been donating “Peace Money” to finance and help subsidize their efforts towards rebuilding and peace. But, as part of the U.K … that may not fly.
This has brought up all kinds of questions – how would the Island of Ireland deal with an EU/Non EU border running through it? Or, will the English Crown finally be forced to relinquish its hold, and let Northern Ireland join the rest of it’s island? Some – like Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness – call for a referendum to unite with the Republic (11). Others say “Naw we’ll just put a border up” and support the exit. So let’s just say, its gonna be an interesting time.
Fire Up the Bagpipes, Kids – Enter (or exit?) Scotland
In addition to bagpipes and Kilts, the Scots also like being part of the EU. I figure its like this: in grade school my sister could never escape being “Michael’s little sister.” Not that the feedback was bad (“Oh you’re so much better behaved then him” lol) but she was always ‘the little sister of that guy.’ In highschool, we were at the same school – but it was big enough for her to form her own identity. So I feel like, for Scotland, the EU is a place for it to be its own proud people without feeling under England’s thumb, it evens the playing field for them. (This is, by the way, based on opinion as opposed to fact).
And they may make it stick, too: the Scots are not, traditionally, a nation to stand down quietly, after all.
Apparently “Scottish parliament could use an obscure legal mechanism to keep Britain in the EU “even if it infuriates the English” (9) A move like leaving the EU that will so influence Scottish Parliament needs consent from the Scots, apparently – a caveat that has yet to be used, but may be busted out of the back pocket. The move is seen as “Nuclear” – as in a last resort all out threat. But Scotland does Not want to leave the EU, and it doesn’t look like they will be going down quietly.
They are also working on a petition that already has Over Three Million signatures telling the British Parliament to give the referendum another run. It reads as follows:
“We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60 per cent based on a turnout less than 75 per cent, there should be another referendum” (9)
Another MP David Lammy has told other MPs to “Wake Up” saying that its only an Advisory Referendum, and doesn’t need to be taken seriously.
From what I gather, Scotland will find a way to block Brexit if they can – and if they can’t, the result may be yet another bid for freedom from the English Crown.
Oh – and while we are here, there is another petition urging the Mayor to have London – the City – leave England, and become and independant City-State thats part of the EU. Now that would cause some hubub.
Brief aside – haha Oh Trump
Donald went to Scotland and commented that Now the pound is lower, more people will be coming by to golf – hooray!
Scotland’s response was epic, hilarious, and on point:
Three cheers for Scotland!
So … What Now?
The ballots have been cast… Will they really negotiate the Brexit?
Well first of all – it was an Informative Referendum. The answer could still end up being no, especially with (a) the Scottish and their petition, and (b) the fact that so many UKers googled ‘what is the EU’ right after the referendum.
If they do leave … then they have a lot of negotiation ahead of them. Obviously they will not want to lose all the financial benefit of being in the EU (And with the #poundplummet, they will need it lol). But then what was the point of leaving?
Will they become like Japan, with strict laws on immigration that allow barely anyone in?
Or will they become like Norway, who keeps certain trade agreements with the EU even while not quite being part of it?
Will they flourish under their own jurisdiction, or be outstripped in progress by the rest of the EU’s collaboration?
What of the EU? The loss of the third largest economy in the EU is a blow – but it still ain’t the biggest. But will other countries start dropping out too?
In a way, we can thank Britain for the excellent social experiment on an international scale. This is a psychologist’s ultimate playground – with National Scale Buyer’s regret, with different factions of Britain with different visions of the future. One thing I can’t help but wonder is, how much of the referendum result was based on what people actually thought – on both sides – versus how much was just clever marketing on the part of the political interests? And, of those political interests, how many were negotiating in good faith versus how many were just using the situation – like George W. Bush used the War on Terror in the aftermath of the Twin Towers – for personal gain?
No doubt these things will slowly begin to come to light. As Britain continues to decide its fate, as Scotland moves to stay in the EU with or without England, and as Northern Ireland looks with curiosity at the rest of its island, wondering if its time to come on over … The world is watching. So keep at er, Britain, and lets have pundits everywhere pop some popcorn – its been quite a show, and the curtain hasn’t fallen.
Sources / Further Reading
Brexit (featured): http://www.express.co.uk/pictures/galleries/6216/Funniest-EU-memes-hilarious-Brexit-pictures
“The EU has Brought…” http://www.dezeen.com/2016/04/26/wolfgang-tillmans-eu-referendum-posters-anti-brexit-campaign-uk-remain/
Britain Colonizes meme: https://mic.com/articles/147032/people-on-twitter-react-to-brexit-by-calling-out-britain-s-history-of-colonialism
Nosferatu bites neck: http://sillymickel.blogspot.ca/2012/06/hunger-games-vampires-and-culture-wars.html
Vlad the Inhaler: https://ifunny.co/tags/inhaler/1453055433
Not Leaving -Guy: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/its-offensive-to-call-brexit-an-independence-day-the-eu-wasnt-a-colonial-power-enslaving-your-nation-a7104286.html
IRA Wall : http://www.history.co.uk/shows/soldiers-stories/articles/northern-ireland-conflict
Fiery Bagpipes: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jimwaterson/insert-needless-edwyn-collins-reference-here
Scottish response: https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/13528991_10153948293923369_8381104762969276166_n.jpg?oh=ffd8549c97e8949e5277d9b246f125f9&oe=580190A4