“I like to make them squirm!”
What the Greeks started on the Fifth of July (2015), the British finished! One was dubbed “a bailout referendum” and pejoratively called “Grexit”; the other, “an EU referendum”—but the question was, in both cases, about who calls the shots in one’s own house. The Greek effort was vitiated by an effort to keep the euro and then essentially emasculated and fully reversed by Tsipras. The denouement is Varoufakis’ quixotic view that the EU must be democratized rather than exited…or offed.
That politicians at that level are “stunned” (Biden, Hollande and, yes, Cameron himself, who does, nonetheless, deserve esteem for keeping his election campaign word and calling the referendum) may indicate how aloof they are. One is “stunned” when the reversal of expectations is great—in the case of the Brexit referendum, it may indicate their beliefs were strong/ expectations high that “Remain” would win, even in the face of repeated analyses that showed a very close call! What does that say about their job qualifications, then? What planet are they from?
In any case, it is quite amusing to hear these otherworldly beings. e.g., the Tusk Fairy: he is repeatedly-“reassuring”-respected-representatives-of-the-remarkably-reluctant-to-request-responses press of his deer-in-the-headlights opinion that now is not a time for “hysterical reactions”—oh, but it is indeed: for hysterical bwahahahahah!
The one who does seem to grasp the import and who, surreptitiously, plays a similar “sovereignty” game inside the EU for her own country’s benefit, is Merkel: “While other EU chiefs have said the UK must begin the exit process as soon as possible, Merkel made no such appeal. She said she would keep the interests of German citizens and German businesses in mind during any talks.” Gotta keep that Mittelstand…standing! (Deutsche Welle, indeed!)
The UK will test the exit clause, such as it is, of the Lisbon Treaty (#50) for the first time (Greenland in 1982 was not a member, strictly speaking). Their “kinda pregnant” membership will end but that relationship type will endure—the exit deal will likely be so that the new PM will go hyperglycemic (look for no visa travel, long-term work permits, preferential tariffs, etc.). That should be fun, so grab the popcorn!
But for this moment: hats off to the Brits! “Little Englanders” (the British equivalent–in condescension–of the Romanian “pășuniști”, “proști dar mulți (stupid but numerous)”, a slander promoted by no other than that standard of objective coverage, the BBC) or not, they made good ol’ Rudy proud:
…If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’…