As I look out the window, I see that the sky has clouded over and there is a chill in the air. I’m disappointed because it seemed like it was going to be a sunny afternoon ripe for sitting in the garden. As I lament the dark clouds forming like an ominous shroud above, I can’t help but feel this is somehow happening because of Brexit. Bloody Brexit, I’m welling up with Bregret.
I remember the days before we voted to isolate ourselves from the world in June 2016, the weather in Britain was positively Mediterranean most of the time. How we frolicked in the parks, basking in the sun in those happier times before we cut ourselves off from Europe and turned into a hate filled land of misery. In Brexit Britain, you have to get your tan out of a tube; that’s how low we’ve sunk.
The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore. The moon ain’t gonna rise in the sky.
The shaming news that fans of Leicester City Football Club have embarrassed England by drinking too much and clashing with the police in Madrid is yet another symptom of our Brexit malaise. Normally polite and level headed English football fans were possessed by Brexit fever and chanted “you Spanish b*******, Gibraltar is ours” while smoke bombs and flares were let off.
Sigh. I hark back to the days of gentlemanly football fans, drinking in moderation and acting gracefully towards their hosts. Remember, back in the halcyon pre-referendum days? They travelled for pure love of the sport and, win or lose, they’d sit side by side with their European brethren and say; “good game old chaps”. It was beautifully civilised and cosmopolitan. Good times. Like so many things, football culture post-Brexit has coarsened.
I had originally planned to write this entire piece as a sarcastic melodrama, but I hope you already get my not very subtly made point. The manner in which some Remain voting Europhiles now look at every aspect of life through the narrow prism of Brexit is becoming genuinely absurd. People who I’m quite sure consider themselves to be open minded, sceptical and intelligent are saying and thinking profoundly stupid things. Stop it.
When Theresa May went to meet Donald Trump, ultra-Remainers remarked on how low Brexit Britain had now sunk. Now, cast out from Europe, we were forced to bend our knee to America. Oh, come off it! It is a mainstay of British foreign policy to forge a “special relationship” with the leadership of the United States. Why? Well, because being in a privileged position with the most powerful country in the world is a good place to be. Oh yes, sometimes it can feel a little demeaning and the accusation of “poodle” rhetoric can be uncomfortably close to the mark; but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Besides, we are so often aligned on most issues and they are our cultural cousins.
Most importantly, this has nothing to do with Brexit. If it were possible to know, I bet my house that in a parallel universe where Remain was victorious in the referendum our Prime Minister David Cameron is still jetting off to meet the US President. How daft to think otherwise.
Then came the eye rollingly tedious remarks all over social media about “what a global Britain actually means” when Theresa May flew to Saudi Arabia. This is truly silly. The UK government’s approach is based on commercial interests as well as the cold fact of needing to ensure that the Saudi regime is conserved, for what would be the state of the nation and of the Middle East should it fall? The chaos doesn’t bear thinking about. Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is indeed troubling, even amoral, but it’s been government policy for a very long time.
The UK has a longstanding cynical foreign policy of dealing with the Saudis and many other regimes, from Bahain where we now have a naval base, to Turkey who are now buying our fighter jets. Now it’s all because of Brexit? No, it isn’t. Foreign policy is often necessarily cynical and motivated by money, this was true long before June 2016.
Then, most laughably of all, was the sneering on Twitter over the latest embarrassment caused by English football fans. When you read journalists from the Financial Times conflating the latest report of football hooliganism with Brexit, you know people are losing the plot. Twitter was awash with this nonsense: “Global Britain on tour”, “Brexit Britain in action”, negative comparisons to the behaviour of Dortmund fans, “our EU friends show us how it should be done”. Oh, give it a rest!
Italian ultras stab people with switch blades from their mopeds, and Polish hooligans are notorious; yob culture is the dark underbelly of football and troubles nearly every European country. Yes, our fans too often behave disgustingly and it shames us all, but it pales in comparison to the disgrace of hooliganism in the 70’s and 80’s. By trying to make these utterly tenuous links, Brexit haters are making themselves look stupid.
I was quite prepared for every single economic indicator that isn’t positive from now and for a long time in the future to be claimed as a direct consequence of Brexit. Even when they are in line with global trends, it will be all down to Brexit. I was not however ready for apparently rational people to blame the behaviour of a load of traveling football yobbos on us leaving the EU.
Europhiles long dismissed Euroscepticism as an ideology that was the reserve of a few obsessive fruitcakes. Well, this proclivity for blaming Brexit for anything and everything is a sign of obsession born from a zealous ideology, pure and simple. The ultra-Remainers doing this need to come to their senses and ditch the tunnel vision, otherwise they will find themselves discredited when they have something worthwhile to say.