Musings on Contemporary Waffle

Brexit! – or – Cutting Off Your Nose To Spite Your Face

This just in:

“In voting to leave the E.U., it is vital to stress that there is now no need for haste.”

–Boris Johnson

Two days after Britain voted to pack up its island and leave town, having won the right to take down the Union Jack atop the European Unionist flagpoles of Brussels and Strasbourg, and having grabbed all of the tickets for the “Let’s-Make-The-NHS-Great-Again” raffle – we hear a once-familiar voice rise above the din, yet again.

Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park, London

Entrance (and exit) to Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park, London – symbol of the occasional triumph of the words of lunatics.

Not so fast, squeaks Boris Johnson, former mayor of the now extremely-pissed-off City of London, a place in Britain that unreservedly didn’t want the outcome that Mr. Johnson instrumentally brought to marvelous fruition last Thursday.

If ever there was a blond moment from the £350M-per-day-for-the-NHS Boris, to make us wonder if She’s Not A Bit Daft, this was it.

There is “no need for haste”, everyone.

I would have made that statement much shorter. Something like, “No need.”


I’ve also heard, emanating from between the trembling lips of several others of those stunned by their glorious victory but stumped by the British currency’s precipitous fall in the last 48 hours, something along the lines of this gem:

“In three years we’ll be over this.”

What a plan for the future. What vision! They’ll be over this in three years! Britain can now look forward to three years of needless economic, social, and political turmoil before it can climb back to the level it enjoyed as long ago as last Wednesday.

“But isn’t the important thing that the people are now free?” continue proponents of the outcome. “A beautiful thing to win back one’s country.” “Democracy has triumphed!” A glorious day, certainly, for 52% of the population, which does not include the 48% that takes in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the vast metropolis of the City of London, and most of the young people of Britain.

Free, indeed, from a market that represents 45% of exports and 52% of imports.

Free from having a significant say in the running of that market, the world’s largest, about equivalent to that of the USA’s and China’s combined.

Free to now renegotiate terms from a position of weakness (and humble embarrassment).

Free to open the door to competition enabled by a suddenly-competitive euro currency.

Free to lose standing as the financial capital of the world and moral center of European culture.

Free also of any common sense about what would likely be lost after a moment of such recklessness.

What this disaster has shown above everything, at least to my eyes, is that among the many freedoms allowed us through the magic of democracy, tying a noose around our necks voluntarily and pulling on the rope violently is also one of them.

The squirming and backtracking now being heard from Boris the Grate, Nigel the Stup(id)-endous, and Duncan the Merely Deluded, will surely remain a windfall of gags and panel stories for a generation of comedians. Britain used to represent a kind of sanity in the world; the place that gave us a rule of law, an enduring and influential democratic tradition, The Beatles and Shakespeare.

Now it has merely demonstrated that even a great nation can go spastic and cut off its nose to spite its face.

Incomprehensibly, Britain has begun to navigate its HMS Bounty of a country into the middle of exactly nowhere to achieve exactly nothing, charging towards a place of importance and isolation more akin to the Pitcairn Islands than whence ruled the greatest empire the world had ever known.

Pitcairn Islands (Courtesy of National Geographic)

Pitcairn Islands (Map, and rather humourous, though probably unintentional, parenthetical indication of U.K.’s possible change of status post-Brexit, courtesy of National Geographic)

A multitude of Fletcher Christians now steal ahead of the 27 Captain Blighs of Europe, yelling doggerel like the occasional lunatic at Speakers’ Corner, whilst the shores of Europe recede into the horizon behind them.

But not so fast! Let’s think about this, say the newly-minted navigators of Britain’s future. It has occurred to some of them that three years adrift is an awfully long time, indeed. They beseech us now to forget what they’d said last week. Believe us this time, they say. There’s no need for haste, really! Where did we all get this daft Brexit idea from, anyway?

What’s the hurry?

There was no need. Indeed.

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This entry was posted on June 27, 2016 by in Politics, Society and tagged , , , , , , , , , .


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