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That’s what the internet is for! Isn’t it? (No it’s not, but this is The Thunderdome, vitriol and vaguarity are expected. I mean, it’s not Reddit or anything, but this is the closest you can get on SU&SD without being polite and well-reasoned, and people still have a hard time not doing that here).

I wish I could have read it (mods and admins can’t see withdrawn posts, like we can’t see PMs. The way the forum was developed included protecting users’ privacy in a big way) but I get the gist of what you said from @Benkyo’s response.

This is still something I’m trying to understand, as I think it is hard to “get” if you aren’t directly involved. How much of this is “nationalist” opposed to “economic?” I’ve known quite a few people from the UK who never thought of themselves as being “European” (they’d say “sure, it’s the same tectonic plate, but we’re British”). It also seems like a lot of the negative vibes are because there was a big backlash to the economy.

I have to admit, because of the complex history the US has with the UK, I, myself, have never thought of the Isles as being part of Europe.

The EU seemed to make the cash flow more freely, but also make people more angry. Am I totally off-base here?


I don’t know anyone who ever felt “angry” about the EU. Mostly people just appreciated the lack of border controls and the (almost) universal currency, but obviously these are all people who had the means and time to travel. Free flow of cash and labour became significant to people after I left, after they became doctors, scientists, woodsmen, etc.

I agree with the observation that most people never thought of themselves as European though. Perhaps that’s just the thin end of the wedge for the rest of the nationalistic fervour.

Still, what insight do I have, really? 20 years in the UK, wondering who on earth was handing the reins over to the Tories again and again, then 18 years in Japan and around the world, still wondering who is handing the reins over to the Tories. I’m in the dark just as much now as then, and Brexit just compounds things. The answer, as always, is people I don’t know, or more accurately the people I have only passing encounters with - the opinionated butcher, the crazy old man in the supermarket who accused me of killing British farmers after he tried and failed to stop me buying French apples, the Daily Mail reading friends of my mum, the guy who picked us up from the airport, the racist twats who made assumptions about my Japanese wife, and of course just all the many people who “don’t talk politics”, whose opinion and reasoning I will never hear…

I’m sure there must be some kind of rational, thoughtful people with good reasons for wanting Brexit to happen beyond their own personal enrichment, but I have never met any.


It’s wrong of me to concentrate on “woodsmen,” but I really hope there’s a story there.

I do think there’s a bit more to the experience you had about buying French apples that’s relevant to this topic. I’d like to hear that story.

In fact, there’s a lot there. I won’t pry, though, it’s your story and yours to tell or not tell.

What you’ve said so far has been enlightening (even though you’re an ex-pat, I know this subject has meaning to you, I really appreciate you being forthright, it does help me understand more than the news has ever helped me. Also, you’ve made it harder to not click “Like” to posts here).

This is The Thunderdome, does anyone have a concurring or dissenting opinion? I really hope to hear all sides of this.


I just couldn’t think of a better one-word term. He volunteered for years, and now has some kind of senior paid role in woodland/park management, which mostly involves actually doing all the physical labour himself when his recommendations for conservation steps are approved, but the budget is not. Brother’s friend.

I was just a teenager, buying apples in a supermarket. Hazy memory now, but it was literally just some guy who came up alongside, telling me to buy some British apples instead of the French ones I had just picked up. I said something dismissive, he started a rant about British farmers committing suicide, I said something dismissive (probably “I don’t care”), and he just exploded “YOU MONSTER! YOU ARE KILLING BRITISH FARMERS!” etc. I didn’t know what to do or how to handle it, so I walked away with my Granny Smith (French) apples.

I’ve used the term myself before, but I’m trying to stick to “emigrant” these days. Same thing, but there does seem to be a very suspicious divide between people who get called emigrants/immigrants and people who get called ex-pats.


Again making my policy about not clicking “Like” in The 'Dome harder.


British psychology 101:

We are an Island nation, unconquered for over a 1000 years, who for better or worse carved out an empire that the sun never set on. (Fun fact! This is still true, thanks to some very small islands.) So much of the narrative of the country is about standing alone against the world.

To (And I can’t believe I’m doing this) quote BoJo, Europe has no collective history, no central unifying language or identity and so its hard tor the British to identify with the idea of being European.

Please tell me to shut up.


Again making my policy about not clicking “Like” in The 'Dome harder (sorry for being repetitious).

Per your request, "Shut up @RossM!"


You know typing that is the same thing, right? Only more so, because people don’t even have to click the “like” number to see who does.


Yes I know. It’s purely an aesthetic decision. (I gotta tell you it’s not as easy as it sounds).


Surely, Australia is part of the Commonwealth? That is not a small island!
(I’m so sorry, I had to use this opportunity. @RossM please tell me to shut up.)




(Nailed it!)


I never understood the thinking behind Brexit either. David Cameron said it was a subject that kept recurring and needed to be faced one way or another, but as a 30yr old I had never heard or seen one mention of someone wanting to leave the EU before the referendum was called. Even the Daily Mail with their “look at this ridiculous EU law” stories were never campaigning to actually leave! In contrast, Scottish nationalism and many in Scotland wanting to leave the UK popped up quite a bit over the last few decades.


It was only an “issue” because UKIP was a thing. They’d been grabbing the more nationalist Tory voters for a while (first about not joining the Euro, which wasn’t going to happen anyway), so Cameron offered to address their pet issue to make sure the Tories got some voters back and won the election.

Of course, then it was recognised as a money-making opportunity (by a certain set of people), so lots of effort was pumped into the Leave campaign with the twin prongs of “get rid of the foreigners” and “we’ll get control/money/whatever back”.

Leave won. Cameron realised he’d fucked it and disappeared. Now we’re in this mess.


Ugh. I don’t bloody know why the British keep resting their butts on the past to fuel their exceptionalism*** When recent history shows that Britain can contend with ‘meh’ countries like Argentina and Spain on Falklands and Gibraltar, respectively; but shows to be a geopolitical pushover when the big boys that are prowling in the yard switch their attention to them. The HM gov acted rationally on the Suez Canal Crisis and the hand over of Hong Kong, but since the US and China will be the big boys of the 21st Century (and the EU, if the EU centralises - as the EU is already an economic superpower), this so-called “wonder post-Brexit future” of blue passports, the return to Imperial measurement, and trade-deals everywhere sounds depressingly kitsch to an outsider.

***Note: this isn’t a uniquely British trait. You can see this as well with Russian and French. President Emmanual “I love the EU” Macron’s inauguration speech was dripping with French exceptionalism.

Agree that there is no common history or language, but Europe has always had this dormant pan-European sentiment - it used to be a pan-Christian identity that was inherited from the Romans, because to them, Christian and Roman are one and the same. The idea of a Universal Monarchy remains strong until the Renaissance. And after the Enlightenment, it became pan-European because Enlightenment people are basically subscribers of r/atheism. Although, I can understand the cultural tendency of being repulsed at this sentiment since pan-Christian/European ideas, Universal Monarchy, and the Holy Roman Empire are often historically associated with Catholicism.

As for myself, I support European Federalism because the 21st Century will be the first century in such a long time that Europeans will no longer call the shots; and since I live in Europe, your destiny is my destiny.


Even so, it’s ridiculous that UKIP were a fringe party to everyone but the Tories. There’s a weird kind of Greek tragedy in calling a vote to win more only to lose out big time… and then call a snap election to win big time and lose even more!


Here’s a thought experiment you can try that might help to understand the mindset of people who think differently (assuming you want to do that, and also assuming, which I do, that nobody will post here defending Brexit from their own point of view).

Imagine you were asked to vote on whether you want Britain to join the US, as a new state. British people would immediately benefit from all the huge economic and social advantages of being American, while losing some decision-making powers and maybe having to compromise on the whole monarchy/republic thing. Which way would you vote? And why?

Separately, if you want an example of an intelligent and thoughtful person who is basically anti the European (capitalist) project, look no further than Jeremy Corbyn, who has put up a principled resistance to the EU all his life.


@chrislear The Corbyn thing is a good example to bring up.


@chrislear I want to hear more about this, you’ve always had a clear and understandable voice, and that’s an analogy that’s made it easier for a Yank like me to get.

(Googling video and text of Jeremy Corbyn right now on the recommendation of @chrislear and @RossM)


Can I flip your experiment Chris?

If you were asked whether you would want to succeed from the Union, would you, and why?

(And to cause more trouble Im not sure what the social benefits of joining the USA would be :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)