Having voted to exit, Brits now wonder, ‘What is the E.U.?’

Forgive me for using your signature line, Dave Barry, but I am not making this up.

Since all those awful headlines about Brexit disturbed me so much, I was wondering whether the full impact was hitting some “Leave” voters and making them have second thoughts.

Well, yes. The Washington Post had this quote today:

“Even though I voted to leave, this morning I woke up and I just — the reality did actually hit me,” one woman told the news channel ITV News. “If I’d had the opportunity to vote again, it would be to stay.”

So it appears some Brits who voted on this perhaps didn’t consider what they were doing carefully enough beforehand.

Actually, it’s much, much worse than that.

Today, faced with all the madness in the wake of the vote, here were the most popular Google searches in Britain:

You know, the sort of search you might expect a voter to have started with months ago, if he or she intended to vote yesterday. Followed up by a whole lot of other questions.

Seriously. They did not have an effing clue.

I mean, here I was, feeling bad that I didn’t focus enough on the referendum to have fully made my mind up before yesterday, and yet I — a Yank who had no say in the matter — had been far more conscientious about the issue than these twits who got to vote on it.

Of course, the feckless Brits are not alone. Wonder how people in this country could vote for someone as clueness and ridiculous as Donald Trump? It’s because of stuff like this…

13 thoughts on “Having voted to exit, Brits now wonder, ‘What is the E.U.?’

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    You know, maybe they should just give up on this democracy thing.

    Is it too late for them to go back to having an absolute monarch?

    I don’t think Her Majesty would have made this decision without asking a few questions first…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Now, now… I know there are swing voters out there who are not quite the thing.

      But I’m not one of them, and I know there are other people like me, so I don’t think of the term “swing voter” that way…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        There are swing voters who are not smart enough to decide whether they are Democrats or Republicans, and those are the ones that journalist and other political professionals like to point to.

        But there are some of us who thoroughly understand Democrats and Republicans, and are smart enough to see what’s wrong with both groups…


        1. David Carlton

          Actually, they’re the ones that serious political scientists have concluded are the *bulk* of swing voters (Most journalists are actually like you, thinking that swing voters are swing voters because they’re “independent”). They use somewhat more systematic criteria for studying them than just counting you and your friends. It’s quite well known that most informed voters are in fact partisans–they know the issues, and support the party that best represents their priorities and has the best chance of translating them into policy. They also know that it’s actually parties that make the political system effective and responsive–not a bunch of “best men” who either act as an insular elite or a gaggle of prima donnas. Of course, this isn’t all that evident in SC, where rational policy debate always gets overwhelmed by the 500-pound gorilla of race.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “They also know that it’s actually parties that make the political system effective and responsive”

            What century do you think this is? Maybe, maybe that was true as late as when LBJ was in office. But parties are worse than useless now. They basically are big, bloated excuses for never getting anything done.

            And this just makes no sense to me at all: “It’s quite well known that most informed voters are in fact partisans – they know the issues, and support the party that best represents their priorities and has the best chance of translating them into policy.”

            How could an “informed” voter look at these parties and see either as “best representing their priorities?”

            It is because I KNOW these parties, because I am informed, that I cannot conceive of either of them representing me and my priorities.

            Each party is a mishmash of wildly different interests that have banded together in an effort to achieve majority.

            To be a partisan, you must have a fantastic ability to rationalize, to convince yourself that, by some wild set of coincidences, you just happen to believe in ALL the things that party stands for. You have to believe, I suppose, in that new word I learned recently — “intersectionality.” In the Kulturkampf area, for instance, you have to convince yourself that gender IS race, and they both ARE sexual orientation, and so forth.

            I can’t imagine being able to convince myself of such things. I see the differences. I make up my mind on each issue according to the respective merits as I am able to perceive them (which is pretty well; my cognitive abilities are at least fair to middling). I don’t do what it seems to me a lot of partisans do — adopt an off-the-shelf, pre-assembled set of positions so as to speak and write in a manner that meets with the approval of the peer group I’ve decided to join.

            Bottom line, I just don’t see how “informed” and “partisan” go together. To me, they are concepts that are at war with each other. Of course, I’m looking at “informed” as implying both having information and being able to process it thoughtfully. If one only means “informed” in the sense of being hip to one’s party’s talking points of the day, then I can see how they go together.

            But you know, even as I type that I see the flaw in my thinking. “Informed” does NOT necessarily imply the ability to think clearly about what one knows. I’m being too optimistic there. BUT I think we should expect that thoughtfulness of voters, that they go being merely knowing things…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Although, in a world in which Donald Trump wins primaries, “knowing things” would be a nice improvement on the part of the electorate…

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        For instance, thoughtful Catholics.

        It amazes me that ANY Catholic could see himself or herself as a Democrat or a Republican (although plenty do). Democrats have so firmly, adamantly wedded themselves to abortion, and Republicans are at odds with Catholic views on social justice….

  2. JesseS

    Good news for Germany’s soon-to-boom financial market, I suppose, as folks move out of London and on to the continent. Sprechen Sie deutsch?

    So can Britain simply ignore their referendum? No idea how their law works on this.

    1. Mark Stewart

      I wonder if that was the (ex) PM’s thrust with his reasonable opinion should be left to next PM? If so, the EU should take the next 6 mos to inact some needed political reforms itself.

      However, just like with a marriage divorce, the chance that both parties will make the necessary changes at the same time to rejoin the union is exceedingly slim.

      Want to bet on a winner here? Go with commercial property in Frankfurt. Or the dollar. Don’t bet on the economic might of Britain alone. They just shackled their future generations.

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