It has now been slightly more than a week since the population of the United Kingdom decided, by a narrow majority in a public referendum, to leave the European Union. Since I don’t have a strong opinion on the matter and since I’m not a citizen of the UK and in fact live elsewhere, I will not publicly endorse one side or the other even in hindsight. I have however made certain observations about how the world seems to be reacting to Brexit, some reactions I have observed bother me and I will take the time to complain about them here.
First of all, the electoral successes of Donald Trump in the United States did not spawn this result in Britain. This should go without saying, but staying in or leaving the EU has in the UK and some other countries been a hot topic for far longer than the Donald’s victory streak in GOP primaries. The far-left leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, voted against the Lisabon Treaty in 2008 and has according to the BBC used the same kind of rhetoric that the leave campaign now used as far back as in 1993. Check this out for details.
Boris Johnson of the Tories, who along with Nigel Farage of UKIP could be considered the leader of the leave campaign, can be heard expressing anti-EU sentiments and a desire for a Brexit referendum in an episode of the British show Question Time that was broadcast in 2007 and is still available on Youtube. David Cameron, prime minister of the UK, if I recall the year correctly promised in 2013 that if his party won a parliamentary majority in the upcoming elections he would allow a vote on staying in or leaving the EU. Donald Trump announced his presidential ambitions in 2015, so you do the math on all of this. A lot of people have pushed for the UK to leave the EU for a long time, whatever you or I may think of it, and the opportunist Trump is a relative newcomer to this party. Claims about how “Donald Trump inspired Brexit” are deeply misleading, Trump supporters may also have supported the leave campaign but the results of the referendum were not only possible but, I claim, probable even without Trump denying Jeb Bush the presidency.
Secondly, there has been talk of removing the status of English as an official language of the EU, here is a Politico article on the matter. In that article I read the following:
“The Commission has already started using French and German more often in its external communications, as a symbolic move after Britain voted to leave the EU last Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal.”
Some people are resentful of the notion of English being the common language of humanity, mumbling of how there are more people who speak Mandarin or bringing up some nonsense about colonialism. Others do not want their own languages to be pushed aside, (certain French officials spring to mind here), which to some extent is understandable. But the fact is that the EU officials need to, if there is to be a union at all, be able to speak with each other. It is also the case that large parts of the populations of countries like the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark etc speak English rather well, and neither French nor German can in those countries come close to the same spread. English is my third language and obviously it works well for me.
The point here is that messing with this order and trying to make EU officials speak something other than English with each other and with the world just to spite the population of the UK for wanting out is childish. If there is to be a European Union at all, let the officials in Brussels speak English at work and whatever they want to at home. English has become the global language and the EU is a pseudo-global institution, end of story.
Furthermore, there seems to be a disgusting strain of race-pimping in circulation in some circles, when trying to explain why the vote turned out the way it did. The idea is being put forth that white people in Britain are collectively, as a group, guilty of racism and primarily therefore voted to leave. Take a look at the following comments I harvested from Twitter:
This is one of the different kinds of behavior that ruins the good relations that could otherwise, I imagine, exist between peoples. The population in the United Kingdom is, to those who may have missed it, overwhelmingly white (87% according to Wikipedia). Since the UK is also a democracy, any political decision made should, if the system works, have the support of a lot of white people. This is not unique to the British, in Japan for example most people are “yellow” and in Nigeria most people are black. If one group makes up a large majority of a population, then in public elections any decision passed will need the support of many members of that large majority. This is not a racist conspiracy, this is simple mathematics.
If the remain side had won, it would have been because many white people voted that way. Would we have had to read the same kind of horseshit then? Somehow I don’t think so, the intention of people posting stuff like this on Twitter is to delegitimize Brexit, smearing it as racist by pointing out that Brexit had a lot of support among whites. That is the main intention, but it is not the only result of this kind of behavior. Casting blame on a whole ethnic group like this is first of all morally wrong, and secondly provokes a negative reaction. In this way these “progressives”, instead of improving race relations as they claim they want to, contribute to poisoning them. If improved race relations are to be considered progress, then this is regression, making this a good example why people who act like this are, and rightly so, called regressives.