As Britain leaves the European Union, part 2

The bizarre news just keeps on coming.

On Wednesday, I learned that although one of the big complaints about the EU was the fishing quota, the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations has announced (now that the vote’s been taken) that fishing quotas aren’t likely to be any larger after a Brexit. “The reality is that most of our stocks are shared with other countries to some degree or another,” the organisation said.

I wonder if it would have made a difference if they’d said that before the vote. Quite possibly not. It’s not like a huge number of people make their living fishing anymore, but the fishing quota was a highly emotional issue that seemed to stand in for a lot of more amorphous resentments.

Also on Wednesday, Nigel Farage, the rubber-faced head of the U.K. Independence Party, which has been pushing for a way out of the EU for years, made a triumphant speech to the EU Parliament, telling them, among other things, that none of them had ever held a real job. Behind him sat Lithuania’s European Commissioner—a heart surgeon—holding his head in his hands.

And on Thursday? The Labour Party continued its self-inflicted meltdown, with MPs doing their best to publicly humiliate their elected leader. Meanwhile Boris Johnson, the leading Brexit campaigner and frontrunner for leadership of the Conservative Party, announced that he wasn’t in the race. Why? No idea. Speculation around here is that either (a) he’s trying to preserve his reputation by letting someone else figure out what to do next or (b) someone knows something juicy about him.

I’m not sure it’s relevant, but he and Michael Gove have been so close through this campaign that the shoulder seams on their suits were stitched together, and Gove’s wife accidentally sent an email that she meant for Gove to a member of the public instead.

Who forwarded it to the press. Who did what the press does and published it.

I’d like to break in here and remind everyone—and I speak as a fiction writer—that you really can’t make this stuff up. If you do, no one will read it. It’s too damned improbable.

What did she tell him? Among other things, not to sign on as a supporter of Boris’s campaign until he got a specific job offer.

Senior civil servants are worried that a new body to coordinate the Brexit strategy won’t have the expertise or the resources it needs. You’d think someone would’ve been exploring the possibilities long before the referndum, but apparently not. Instead they seem to have said, “Hey, if it happens we’ll just, you know, wing it.” Only they probably didn’t sound quite so American.

As Gary Younge points out in a long article on how this all happens, the country effectively lacks both a government and an opposition.

And finally, in a completely different country, the president of Belarus has urged citizens to “get undressed and work till you sweat.” Or maybe he told them to develop themselves and work till they sweat. According to the Guardian, in Russian develop yourselves sounds a lot like get undressed. My Russian, unfortunately, doesn’t include either get undressed or develop yourself, although I can say “hello,” “how are your grandparents?” (which might actually be great-grandparents; it’s all a little hazy), and “this is a beautiful day today” or something equally awkward involving day and beauty. None of which is even remotely helpful. It sounds massively improbable that the two phrases would sound so much alike, but take a look at what’s happening in Britain and you’ll see why I’m prepared to believe pretty much anything.

Anyway, citizens have started posting pictures of themselves naked at work with strategically placed work-related equipment. As one Instagram user said, “The president said this was necessary.”

Patriotism, my friends, takes many forms. As does protest. And satire? That’s only limited by the human imagination.

44 thoughts on “As Britain leaves the European Union, part 2

  1. I hope we (Americans) are learning something from the “vote with your anger” and then “oh wait…” moments playing out here. Probably not, given how little it seems we’ve ever learned. Regardless who win our next election, I’m not working naked. I would like to think that, sitting behind a computer all day, I wouldn’t be sweating either, but you never know.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The Brexit vote reminded me that one of the problems with democracy is that people get to vote.

    I’m glad you posted about this issue–there was an article in the Washington Post earlier this week about how the exit would impact Cornwall specifically, so you’re little part of the world has made the big time.

    Speaking from my American perspective, I hope the concerns of the people who voted to leave the EU, like the concerns of the people who are supporting Trump here in the US, aren’t dismissed as a bunch of ignorant, racist, ninnies. I’m sure there are plenty of them who are, indeed, ignorant, racist ninnies–and, God knows, there are always politicians ready to exploit those fears for political/personal gain–but the truth is these agreements have hurt workers. It is small comfort to these folks to know the t-shirt made in North Carolina which used to cost $14, now it only costs $12 because it’s made in Mexico when they don’t have $10 for groceries.

    Both our nations need to figure out what to do with displaced workers, or we’re going to see more Brexit votes, and more Trump-like candidates.

    (And the solution is higher wages for low skilled work, if anyone is asking).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is definitely an object lesson here for us Americans. What it is, though, is highly dependent on perspective, for the rules of logic no longer seem to apply. At the very least, we can take comfort in the fact that we are not the only country where buffoonery can advance one to the highest levels. I heard an alarming bit of news this morning: Boris Johnson was actually born in New York, so he would be eligible to run for President here. The news also reported that Trump is interviewing possible running mates. Should Johnson board a plane for the States in the coming days, we may anticipate a Tweedledum and Tweedledee ticket. How do you say “bat-crap crazy” in Russian?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for my quota of chuckles again. I firmly believe in the theory that it’s better to laugh than to cry. Perhaps difficult to pull off in this day and age, but worth the effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Truly. By the time I open the morning paper, it’s out of date. I haven’t been much of a gambler since I discovered, simultaneously, that I like gambling and that I’m no good at it, but even if I was I wouldn’t want to place bets on this lunacy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I can see why. The one thing I like about the outcome of the referendum is that I don’t have to hear politicians honking and bellowing at each other about it anymore. The problem always is that politics affects our lives so much. And it’s so much nicer to ignore it–until it searches us out in some way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your simplified explanation of the political players helped clear things up for me, as fragments of BBC World News are tough to string together and make sense of. I love the comment about the Boaty McBoatface voting debacle. They didn’t like the outcome of that vote either! The US Independence Day is soon upon me. Now I call it “Amexit”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t remember how to say you’re welcome in Russian. All I can come up with is nechivo. Or neechivo? Nichivo? I can pronounce it, I’m just not sure how to transliterate it. Anyway, it doesn’t mean you’re welcome but may be part of the phrase. But you’re welcome, and it’s a strange world when I chased you onto Instagram and I’ve never actually looked at it myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I still can’t process this — and I’m an ocean away. Still, it was nice to see a few links in your post today. I didn’t read ’em (sticking to funny tweets and Brexit-Hitler videos until the buzzing in my head dies down), but glad you were able to process enough since your last post on the subject to remember how to link to something.

    Even if all those links actually just go to a single youtube vid of people in t-rex costumes running around aimlessly to the theme music from Benny Hill…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really should’ve linked to that T-rex video. Wish I’d thought of it. And found it.

      I’m not a great fan of links, personally. I don’t follow a hell of a lot of them. Life’s complicated enough without adding videos of cats, toddlers, or politicians. Or even texts about any of the above. But they’re the footnotes of our times, and I do feel the need to add them once in a while.

      I was never in love with footnotes either, while we’re at it.

      Liked by 1 person

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