It has been only a few days since it turned out that the British voting populace are huge masochists who enjoy crushing the hopes and dreams of people under the age of 25, and already the country’s two mainstream political parties have imploded.
This is unsurprising, because at the big EU houseparty that I like to imagine GeoPolitical reality as, England is the person who broke up a fight once and has a hot cousin from the north who you kind of fancy. So you let them come along even though they have been turning into more and more of an entitled tosser, and always talks about the houseparties he used to throw. What’s worse is that England being a tosser is starting to ruin the European houseparty for everyone, so you’re sad that they’re leaving (though the cousin wants to stay) but also rather glad it was them and not someone who actually brings wine to the party, like France.
What I’m trying to do with this houseparty analogy is to show you that while England leaving is certainly bad for them, bad for Ireland, and dangerous for the EU, it is also probably a reasonably good thing that it was them who went first. As we sit back and watch the Tory party finish off the act of self destruction that started with this referendum, and is finishing with a leadership race that will have more knives in people’s backs than the ‘Red Wedding’, we can take solace in the fact that England was never much into the EU anyway; while we watch the British Labour party flounder under a leader who really should have stayed as a maverick backbencher for everyone’s sake, we can remember all the times that the UK was constantly battling against an ever closer union, because for some reason they think their identity as a bastion of imperialism makes them a special snowflake in Europe.
Yes, the UK (Minus the Scots if they have their way) leaving could be catastrophic, but it could be the warning the rest of Europe needs to get its act together before someone like LePen ends up in charge of a country that has nuclear weapons. It will be an abject lesson for the Brussels elite that they might have to do some brand awareness, so that people won’t believe the absolute drivel they are fed by populist politicians.
More than this, England has now given the European leadership the scapegoat it needs to fight this upswing of Euroscepticism across the continent. The only logical choice for the EU is to take the knife that England just shoved into the back of the European dream, and flay them with it. It is unpleasant, but England has put themselves into a position that means the only way the EU as a political body can thrive after this is if they punish the English for what they have done.
It is unfair, because many people in England voted to stay, and more of the Leave camp voted so after being categorically lied to by politicians, but for Europe to survive it must happen. They need to be able to say to the other Eurosceptics that the worst possible scenario will happen if you leave, and while they’re doing it, they should fix the systems that can be so easily used as a populist target. However, in the reality of the day facts and reason cannot fight the lizard-brain of populist movements, movements that can lead people to so much political self harm.
Wave at England as he leaves the party after throwing up over himself, everyone; slam the door, think of the cold night, maybe put this fifth drink down and have an elegant sufficiency before you go out like him: embarrassed, confused, and quickly out of friends.