Home Columns Anantha Narayan The exit sign

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    When The Economist coined the portmanteau, Brexit, in 2012, they had no idea it would someday plunge the British pound to a 30-year low, cause a wealth wipe out of over two trillion dollars, and lead to a geo-political crisis that might eventually trigger the break up of the United Kingdom.
    As Bill Maher summed it up rather novelly, the final Brexit tally was 48 per cent ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and 52 per cent ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Clearly, those who wanted to walk out of the relationship with the European Union (EU) were thinking more ME than EU. Cricket legend Ian Botham couldn’t have explained it better, “We have lost the right to govern ourselves, to make our own laws, and to choose who comes here.” The loss of authority to faceless bureaucrats sitting in Brussels and being the ‘sewer for all and sundry from abroad’ obviously hurt the Brits. Hence Brexit.
    Curiously, the Queen didn’t offer a word of support for ‘Remain’ throughout the campaign. And that should offer a clue as to why respected names like Michael Caine and John Cleese decided to openly root for ‘Leave’. It wasn’t really about immigrants alone. It was about getting back the Britishness.
    Somehow, the rest of the world hasn’t taken the referendum result kindly. All those who’ve been easy targets of British humour have ganged up on the internet to have a good laugh at the Union Jacked with plenty of Brexit jokes.
    A popular WhatsApp forward went like this: After the EU break up, English will have only three vowels — A, I & O. Another one goes, ‘Hey, there’s this new diet that makes you lose pounds fast. It’s called the Brexit diet’. A Reddit favourite was, ‘I read a joke about the British pound. It didn’t make any cents to me.” Ryanair rode on the mass frenzy with a banner ad to push its low fare seats from the UK to Europe. The headline read: “Just like the Brits, they’ll be gone very soon!”
    The Europeans were very peeved. And they joined the ridicule fest with even more barbs. “May be instead of using the fifty-fifty option and asking the audience, Britain should have exercised the phone-a-friend option. That way they could still have been a millionaire,” added a pungent Euro-fan. An acerbic bloke piped in an online forum, “You know why there’s been a steady decline in the British population? That’s because the Brits are really good at pulling out!” My point is, this Brexit or Bremain debate will continue till the English say, “See EU later!”

    Anantha Narayan

    What’s your take on the vote? Share your thoughts with anantha@albertdali.com.

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