I just finished a skype conversation with married friends in England, he an American and she a Brit. He feeling bad about the British vote to leave the European Union and she feeling worse.
I, on the other hand, have felt a heightened interest bordering on excitement since the decision came in last Thursday. This will be a whole new ball game, with loads of unknowable unknowns to discover and uproot. If the Brits had decided to remain in the EU it would have been non-news, same ol, same ol. I had the same feeling months ago imagining what it might be like to have Trump as president, unpredictability being one of his trademarks second only to self aggrandizement.
This is the TV viewer side of myself talking rather than my semi-rational citizen side, the latter a side that has been awakening to worry now that Trump actually rates a shot at becoming president. I have studied him for months and the more I learn, the less I like. Even the viewer side of me is tired of his act.
But the Brexit thing is new with the potential for unintended consequences galore. That excites my viewer frame of mine, though my friends in Britain sobered me more than a little. As you know it looks like Britain will exit from the EU, but according to my friend under present agreements that could take a couple of years. Can you imagine what an ongoing current of uncertainty like that will do to stock markets and world trade? And what will become of our “special” relationship with Britain, which has so often put its weight on our side in European matters? And what ramifications have not even been considered because they are unknown?
And what about the Scots, who voted to remain in the EU, want another vote to secede from Great Britain, so they can stay in the EU. Similar talk is happening in Northern Ireland, which would turn Great Britain into little England, as some have phrased it. Plenty more to speculate upon, but let’s wait for it to sort out some.
Except for this. As many have pointed out, the battle between those who want to leave the EU and those who want to stay mirrors our own political situation more than a little. Three major examples being much talk about immigrants driving wages down and taking jobs from native Brits, many older less educated natives feeling left behind and politicians not caring about them and how those faceless bureaucrats in Brussels (seat of EU government) were robbing Britain of its sovereignty.
Of course, the true blue be-leavers argue this negativism is all trumped up, so to speak. Britain will manage its way through this. Rule Britannia. I don’t wish bad things upon my friends in England but I wouldn’t mind if the nation struggles some until November. Trump’s fire-from-the-hip reaction was to praise the Brits for taking back their sovereignty and adding he didn’t think the change would have much impact on us.
And if the Brits get through this too easily, and we feel no lasting impact I imagine those last minute deciders at the ballot box here might think: See, the so-called experts were wrong and Trump was right. Why not take a shot at change with the businessman? How bad could it be?
P. S. – Writing this I recalled a large wild fire we had in San Diego several years ago, which led to an evacuation of my area for a few days. I was relieved when winds pushed the blasé in another direction. An odd feeling to have that in a sense I was wishing bad things to happen to others.