First We Take Brussels! Then We Take Westminster?

I was happily working on an article and then Brexit happened. (Is it “Brexit” or “the Brexit”?) It seems important  to stop working for a second and say something. I know I am late, but I am not a pundit and it is difficult to say something interesting about this mess. It is a momentous event. Words are trite in comparison.

The EU and England will both be poorer without each other. David Cameron’s political legacy may well be two broken unions, in which case he would go down in history as the lousiest ruler of the country ever. The English (and the Welsh) voted to take their country back, whatever that means, and they may very well end up handing it over to Boris Johnson, an Etonian aristocrat. The ironies run thick and creamy, but mockery is pointless.

The consensus appears to be that this was a vote on immigration. This is probably true. Britain is full of them and it was made by them. It looks like the Empire is finally cashing in its chips and will be happy to close its doors on all the people whose ancestors’ homes were looted to fill the country with wealth and the V & A with stuff. However, immigration will not stop thanks to Brexit. Nor will the NHS be funded by the imaginary figure that was touted by the Leave campaign’s Nigel Farage. Some things did change rather quickly. Costly trade negotiations looming in the future made the markets volatile and crashed the pound. But in any case, old people who want to enjoy their tea (earlier known also as the China drink) in their quaint little villages in peace voted to keep everyone else out.

What really struck me was the amount of lying in the campaigns, especially the Leave campaign. My friends call me naive when I am shocked by the lies politicians tell and I, in turn, am shocked by their impotent cynicism. Lies about supremely important political issues are criminal. Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson both lied to get their way. There were probably many voters who were very well informed and voted to leave, but the vote was very close and every vote mattered. This was not mere election hyperbole. These were calculated lies that were used to manipulate the masses to orchestrate a coup. People seem to think this is a game, but it really is not. Heads should roll, but those who are dreaming of a new referendum are dreaming.

Rosa_'William_Shakespeare_2000'_1The situation is confusing at the moment, but there is hope. We should all remember that the British have a fierce reputation when it comes to representative democracy in their own country. King Charles I lost his head in 1649 for being an uncompromising autocrat. There have been more recent riots in London than I can count. The British love being feared by the establishment and perhaps Brussels was just their latest victim. Maybe, just maybe, Westminster is next. If this is the case, we might see the blossoming of a new kind of democracy in England.


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