We finally made it to France, for the first time in 2 years because of covid. When talking to our European friends, their view of Brexit is pretty well unanimous, as indeed it was two years ago. They cannot understand why UK chose to leave the EU, why we would choose to erect borders, checks and tariffs, when previously there was free flow of trade with our main trading partner, why we would choose to make it difficult to take our pets on holiday, why we would choose to lose freedom of movement across the whole continent, why we would choose to make it difficult for Europeans, even spouses of Brits, to come to UK, why we would choose to risk a resurgence of the troubles in Northern Ireland by leaving the customs union. Why did you do this self harm?
This incredulity is supplemented by amusement at the antics of the Johnson government in trying to justify its extreme interpretation of the Brexit vote, which did not itself mandate all these unfortunate results.
Personally I have seen just one possible benefit of Brexit – leaving the Common Agricultural Policy, which has over decades decimated European wildlife, as we have observed on our travels. That policy is in great need of reform. Other than that, all we Brits have ‘gained’ is a lot more bureaucracy, expense and restrictions on our lives, compounded of course by an insistently different approach to covid.
Basically, our European friends think that Little England has gone bonkers and is taking the UK Union with it. It is difficult to disagree.
They are also sad that we, who they regard as friends, have left. We and they feel a little more insecure in these troubled global times, when we Europeans need to stick together.
Featured image is based on that at forexop.com
3 thoughts on “Incredulous, amused, bonkers, sad, insecure”
I’m so glad that you and Joyce have been able to get over to France for a visit. Sadly, Brexit is just as much a mystery to me and most in Canada who have been paying attention as it is to your French friends. And the pandemic certainly was the icing on the cake. Such a shame. I just wish Canada could join the EU!
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The gist I get from the Brexit vote is the same gist I get from constant threats by various states here in the US to “secede from the Union.” I don’t understand the phenomenon any better than anyone else, but have this unshakable feeling it’s not so much driven by fear or something like sheer stubbornness as by some essential dynamic that is being overlooked — an unconscious dynamic, if you will — which, perhaps, has the fundamental difference between integration and assimilation at its core.
“Globalization” reflects both aspects and they are fused together in a Gordian knot of confusion par excellence. Ergo, some are trying to draw a distinction between what they see as integration and assimilation on a case by case basis, e.g. with your “Common Agricultural Policy.” Whether drawing that distinction will help or not, I’m sure I don’t know. Everything is moving so fast, few of us seem to have time to stop and truly reflect on it.
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Interesting thought. Yes it is a global dynamic that is going on, suggesting there is some deep unconscious process working out. I’m not sure anyone has a clear picture of how it will evolve.
Thanks for commenting.
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