Brexit Is Britain’s Final Opt-out. From Responsibility! (And What Did We Use to Talk about?)
Brexit is Britain’s biggest European opt-out – the opt-out from responsibility. Nothing more, nothing less.
It’s not just Brexit Day but also Brexit hour – midnight on January 31, 2020, Brussels time (CET), 11 pm GMT, and 1 am on February 1, 2020, EET – that this article is getting published.
With stuff that are as historic as Brexit, one can afford some minor technical notes.
So it’s finally happening this Brexit. This Brexit thing is here to stay. Or, maybe, better yet, it’s finally going down (puns either intended, or unintended).
Feels at least a little bit surreal, at least for those Europeans out there, on both sides of the English Channel, who care about Europe, climate change, Western Civilization, and other important stuff.
Brexit is one of those things that pop up out of nowhere (or out of a basket of misguided grievances and past imperial mirages, skillfully garnished by false prophets with plentiful “fake news”, which is really a misfortunate euphemism for “lies”) – but when they do pop up, you don’t exactly remember what it was like before they did. It is a
“What did we use to talk about?”
-type situation (which is a very ingenious quote from “Friends”, by the way).
I myself have done my fair share of commenting on Brexit – both years before it became a thing, and in the past couple of years when the possibility of it actually happening felt not just surreal but semi-real, or even unreal.
Now, I don’t want to claim that I predicted Brexit – but I actually have articles on the Brexit matter as early 2011 (in my article entitled “Let the Brits Go!”) and 2013 (in my article entitled “Give the Brits Tea and Sympathy!”).
My rationale at the time was simple, and it was based on the constant whining and ranting of the entire British press, and not just the infamous tabloids, about how evil the EU is, not to mention the Brits’ unwanted intra-EU compatriots from the eastern (post-communist) part of the Union.
It wasn’t that I predicted Brexit – I just thought it should happen, that the UK should leave the EU if it is that disgruntled with it all time. It just didn’t seem to make sense for the Brits to stay in the Union.
And that was my line of thought back in 2011 – 2013, way before the once self-conceited David Cameron took his ill-advised Brexit referendum gamble.
Poor David had remained oblivious to the vile “Zuckerberg Effect”, namely, the rise and omnipotence of the Anti-Social Media (erroneously, paradoxically, and ridiculous known as “social media”), whose double practical consequence has been to enable the forces of global evil through trolls, bots, “fake news” (LIES), superficiality, and ignorance.
And even back in 2011, I was curious to see what new scapegoat the British press would find to blame for all of Britain’s problems once the UK actually leaves the European Union.
More recently, I argued that in light of Brexit, the EU must codify its own “EU English”, an article that went viral on Reddit and a bunch of other forums, earning me interestingly word praise as well as contempt.
I also argued, in a “Look Back in Anger” article, that the Brexit debate was framed entirely wrong, and deliberately so – it should have focused on real values, and not on cheap-scape calculations!
In another Brexit piece, I wondered why the Brits apparently didn’t even consider the issue of the Irish – Irish border, and the ensuing backstop, when slightly more than half of them voted in favor of leaving the EU.
More recently, I argued in favor of ripping off the Brexit band aid, i.e. getting it over as soon as possible for all the horrendous uncertainty damage that its delays had been causing.
In another piece, I took a look ahead at what a post-Brexit Britain would be like just by virtue of leaving the European Union: a downshifter and just a large New Zealand, as per the simple mathematical formula “Britain + Brexit = New Zealand 2.0 x 10” (the British press aren’t the only ones that can have fun with Brexit stuff, right).
And, my most recent piece was on 2020 as the Year of Brexit, and the fact that it is now “R.I.P. EU Britain (1973 – 2020)”, the time when “EU Britain” is getting its life support unplugged with the approval of all relatives.
As it is now not just Brexit Day but also Brexit Hour, it is worth reminding just how privileged the UK inside the EU – contrary to what any Brexiteer would have believe.
The UK had secured from the rest of the EU four crucial opt-outs in major EU policy areas. It has been enjoying that complex rebate since the 1980s. It had its infamous “British veto” on just about everything regarding deeper integration. It benefited from privileged position of the English language within the EU institutions and talks (which for many decades now has been thanks to the former “Thirteen Colonies”, but still). Not to mention its historically privileged position of being *an island* and thus a balancer of power, interests, and influences on the continent of Europe and within the EU.
It has now given all of that up, against the backdrop of even hardcore Brexiteers complaining that it won’t have a seat at the EU table any more. So perhaps the UK should be allowed to both leave the EU and still vote inside the EU? What do these people really want? Way too much of having their cake and eating it, too, or?
All that said, there is one main takeaway from the whole Brexit debacle, or Brexit fiasco.
That today, on Brexit Day, by leaving the European Union, Britain has secured, or chosen, an opt-out from responsibility.
From the responsibility of being European, Western, globalist (in the positive sense of the term if there’s any left), of being committed to betterment at home and abroad.
Not because of some billions of euros or pound sterlings are getting shuffled around, back and forth, all the time, but because that is who you are.
Brexit is an opt-out from the responsibility to keep your seat at the one table that matters the most because you do possess the morals, values, history, and traditions of leadership for the greater common good. And to make that seat count.
Brexit is an opt-out from the responsibility of leading even when there are many others who are seeking that from you.
So in that sense Brexit isn’t just a case of downshifting. It is perplexing, inexplicable, lackluster failure to live up to your potential, commitments, and obligations.
And you have lots of those when you still are, arguably, a global power, and the founder of modern-day European democracy.
But why not just opt out of all of those?
Read a tabloid, hit a pub, make a toast to the liberation from the brutal oppression by Brussels eurocrats (how did you even survive that yoke?!), get on “social” “media” for a new batch of lies… (sorry!) fake news, entrust all of your fortunes in the hands of the bewildering hair twins, BoJo and Donald Jo. Trump, especially the latter. And don’t forget to tell the Polish plumber to p-off, and go home. There’s a Brexit Day worth having!
It’s now zero hour. And
At the end of the day,
At the end of Brexit Day,
That’s what Brexit really is:
Just another British opt-out of Europe.
But the worst kind of all:
An opt-out from responsibility.
Brexit is an opt-out from responsibility,
Nothing more, nothing less…
And I myself am now mainly interested in the same thing as I was back in 2011 – 2013. Namely: who is the British press going to lambast from dawn till dusk, now that the UK will be out of the EU? My modest, though unentertaining, guess for the next decade or so, is that it will still be the EU.
There will be far more “Brexit” to be talked about in the years to come than there was in the past 3.5 years. And that may be even sadder than Brexit Day and opt-out of responsibility.
And we are yet to keep wondering even more about the seemingly fairy tale times before Brexit:
“What did we use to talk about?”
(Banner image: Pixabay)