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Brexit Blues

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

I’m weary beyond words at the ongoing disaster that is Brexit. Yes, I'm an American citizen who cannot vote in the UK. Fundamentally, I’m an outsider to the culture I now share. But I’ve come to regard London as my home. In this city-state of exiles, I’m one of many who both lose and find themselves in its vast sea of diversity. I have a stake in what happens.

Brexit is a disaster. For me, an older urban intellectual, the impact will be less dire than for those whose livelihood depends on freedom of trade, goods and services. I worry not about my job but about such things as traveling freely to other European countries. This is not said smugly; I know how lucky I am not to be struggling with the economics of a non-European UK.

Basically, it's the stupidity and provincialism of Brexit that outrage me. The UK will be isolated in a world increasingly disordered. It will cut itself off from an EU entity that gives it protection against an increasingly predatory USA and a rising China. The exclusion of potential immigrants will drain London's energy, and no doubt impact the labour force in towns outside London.

In truth, I don't know how it will impact places outside London. I'm less concerned than a good lefty liberal should be. It's the city I care about. I'm a rootless cosmopolitan, and what I value are ideas, diversity, edgy thinking, mixing up of cultures and people, the creative goo arising from confusion. I don't want London to lose its messy soul.

As an American, I can tell you most Americans like Britain for its cool accent and its historical pageantry. Period. When US citizens glance up from their isolation and look out at the world, Britian is not the first place that comes to mind--or even the fifth. It's a delusion to think Britain can see the US as a reliable trading partner--or a reliable anything else. And this will be true even if a non-sociopath replaces the current President.

As the Brexit tumoil rumbles on, I want to scream 'stop, stop before it's too late.' There's some hope the worst of it can be derailed. It was, after all, only fifty two percent who voted Leave against forty eight for Remain. In the US, you can't even change a postal route with that kind of feeble majority. But who knows what madness lurks in the heart of the UK's politicians and how potent the forces for little England are?

-Rose Levinson


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