Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 28th, 2016

Reporting Brexit referendum: As if it were happening in the Middle East

London, Britain. June 2016.

You can learn everything you need to know about the EU referendum in the United Kingdom by talking to just two people in London.

The taxi driver and the millennial entrepreneur type person. They’ve never met, the taxi driver doesn’t hang out in trendy places and the millennial entrepreneur type person uses Uber instead of traditional London cabs, but by talking to each for ten minutes I gathered enough quotes to allow me to write knowledgeably about this debate that has inflamed passions on this small island.

The taxi driver, I will call him John because I forgot to ask him his name and he looked like a John to me, was disenfranchised with modern politics. He didn’t use the word disenfranchised but I felt it would work better for my sophisticated cosmopolitan audience.

John was angry about something he called the ’24-country format in the Euros’, a clear indictment of the remote machinations of European bureaucrats and their detachment from common people.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

Int’l politics are complicated, but here the UK referendum is explained as if it were a Middle Eastern country so you can fully understand the social and historical context.

Karl reMarks.
John was ranting about ‘Roy tinkering with the system’, a common phrase in the local ‘cockney’ dialect which denotes discontent with the opaqueness of modern European politics, particularly in the post Treaty of Rome context.
While I am personally a big fan of the European Union and its achievements, it looks good if I point out in a condescending way that I do genuinely understand why the working class are dissatisfied with it.But, and there’s always a but after those declarations of sympathy for the concerns of the lower classes, as well as a question: isn’t that more a symptom of the inability of politicians to explain to the simple folk why the EU is good for them?

In fact, trying to understand attitudes to the EU referendum through the prism of class is misleading.

As most commentators here would tell you, class has nothing to do with it and, in fact, class has never played an important role in British politics or society historically.

Most people don’t even know which class they’re in and many can be members of the higher and lower classes simultaneously, such as Lord Alan Sugar the world-famous working class millionaire.

This fluidity in class identity, however, contrasts sharply with the fierce ethnic rivalry within this ancient kingdom.

The Norman conquest of England in the 11th century left deep scars and created divisions between the Norman invaders and the local Anglo-Saxon population that continue to this day.

The persistence of legends like Robin Hood and Ivanhoe, describing native Anglo-Saxon resistance to the Normans, attests to this fact. When Anglo-Saxons in Britain today look at the EU, they don’t see a modern political union but the lingering face of Norman occupation.

The persistence of this ancient Norman/Anglo-Saxon rivalry in modern-day Britain manifests itself most fiercely today in the realm of soccerball, which is a local sport played on grass fields.

The local championship is followed by millions of zealous fans who support their teams religiously. It is dominated by Anglo-Saxon teams like Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle and Norman clubs Chelsea, Tottenham Spurs and, above all, Arsenal.

Arsenal has won many trophies over the years but nothing really important over the last decade or so. The club however continues to be universally loathed by Anglo-Saxon fans, not least because of its long-time French (the modern word for Norman) manager Arsène Wenger and the large number of French players who have played for the club over the years.

It is also hated for its slick, irritating style of football, which betrays a quintessentially Norman form of nihilism. This style contrasts with the more muscular and intense Anglo-Saxon approach to the game which shuns all aesthetic considerations.

Unsurprisingly, Wenger is a vocal supporter of the Remain campaign and Britain’s continuing membership of the EU. In fact, many of the leaders of the Remain camp are of Norman origin, while most of the leaders of the Leave campaign are Anglo-Saxon.

The notable exception is Nigel Farage, a politician of Norman extraction who argues that Normans and Anglo-Saxons should put their differences aside and focus on antagonising foreigners instead.

Farage has been shunned by the Norman community for this public betrayal, but he has managed to build support among Anglo-Saxons, although not enough to get elected into parliament.

Farage endeared himself to Anglo-Saxons by publicly drinking beer, a habit which is frowned upon by the Normans who prefer wine and coffee.

This fundamental dividing line within British culture has been overlooked by commentators in the referendum debate, but it represents an important symbolic schism. I wanted to find out more, so I decided to go talk to Matteo, the millennial entrepreneur type person.

Matteo runs what is known as a ‘hipster coffee cart’, but he’s much more than just a coffee seller. Matteo is passionate about his personal philosophy, which revolves around overcharging customers for artisanal products. He is part of a new breed of activist/entrepreneur in the UK ‘redefining the post-mass production consumer landscape’. And, as you can guess from his Latinised name, Matteo is a Norman.

Matteo believes that the UK should stay in the European Union, claiming that he feels more European than English.

Matte cited many great things the EU has achieved, like giving women and minorities the vote, introducing Saturdays (which are his busiest business days), and abolishing slavery. He particularly liked travelling around Europe, talking to like-minded people about their shared passion for overpriced artisanal products, and he feared he would lose this freedom if Britain left the EU.

As I left, I felt sad because the worlds of Matteo and John are so far apart. It is tragic that events that happened a thousand years ago should continue to separate British people from each other and impact on the relationship of the country to Europe, with which it has historically had many good wars.

Tomorrow as British people vote to remain in or leave the EU, the biggest driver will be this ancient ethnic schism between Normans and Anglo-Saxons. The majority might decide to leave the European Union, but they will still have to live with each other. And it’s something they shouldn’t forget.

Note: Britain foreign policies for 3 centuries was foment wars and instability in all of Europe in order to divide the European States and bankroll their wars.

Even when Britain partially adhered to the EU, it betrayed France and Germany by siding with George Bush Jr. on his war in Iraq. Britain foreign policy in this century was mainly supporting the US foreign policies at the detriment of a united Europe. Good riddance.


Have No Qualms (2001)

1.   You have no respect for me.

I am poor.  I have no qualms.

You find no charms in me.

I am a boor. I have no qualms.

You believe I’m slow in the mind.

I am doing my best.  I have no qualms.

You think that I’m a loser.

Show me a genuine smile, please.  I have no qualms.


2.   You rob my people of their wealth,

You leave them homeless and impoverished,

I have a qualm.

You deprive my people of their rights to choices,

To reach the best they can be,

I have a qualm.

You trample on my people’s liberties,

To fight, to reclaim their humanity,

I have a qualm.

You spread poisonous prejudices of my people,

Though they are as good as your prejudices

I have a qualm.  I do.  I do.

Waking up to if we vote to Leave the EU?

Are you still undecided?

Are you someone who – pummelled by weeks of claim and counter-claim – has been left exhausted and annoyed?

Have you been looking for answers, yet all you’ve encountered are insults and exaggeration?

Maybe you’re so fed up that you think to hell with it, let’s throw caution to the wind and vote Brexit.

Imagine, however, what happens next. Imagine how you will feel on 24 June?

Having woken on Friday to the news we’re quitting the EU, you will assume that those who persuaded you to take that leap of faith have a plan about what to do next.

So imagine how dismayed you will feel when you discover, instead, that Nigel Farage, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson can’t agree among themselves what life outside the EU looks like?

They may be united by a ferocious loathing of the EU, but they have no shared plan for the future

This is currently the top story on i news. It was written by Nick Clegg on Wednesday and some people are saying it is oddly prescient – in fact some people are now calling him ‘mystic clegg’ |(after popular astrologer Mystic Meg)


So you will look towards our leaders in Westminster to sort out the mess. Instead, they argue among themselves: the Conservatives descend into a bloody leadership election; Parliament enters years of constitutional gridlock trying to extricate itself from the intricate legal stitching which binds us to the EU and gives us access to world markets.

Then you discover just how unprepared the Government is – that there simply aren’t enough trade negotiators in Whitehall, for instance, with the expertise to renegotiate 50 or so international trade accords.

As politicians bicker, you become increasingly unnerved by what’s happening in the economy, too: overseas investors take fright; money flows out of the country; our credit rating is slashed; the interest on our borrowing goes up; unemployment rises; sterling tanks; prices in the shops go up.

Nicola Sturgeon soon announces that preparations have started for a second independence referendum, claiming it is the only way to keep Scotland in the EU. And this time most commentators think that she will win.

Still, at least they will finally sort out our borders, right? After all, ending mass immigration was the Brexiteers biggest claim of all.

So imagine how you’ll feel when you discover that they don’t have a plan for that either? Some argue for a new land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to stop EU immigrants coming in through the “back door”.

Others that a new border would harm the peace in Northern Ireland.

The Australian points system which they advocate is no solution either – it has led to immigration levels twice as high as in the UK.


Panic starts to spread among the 1.3 million Brits who live, study and retire elsewhere in the EU.

Spanish politicians start to complain about paying for public services used by British pensioners. If we start excluding Spanish doctors and nurses, why should they keep paying for our pensioners?

And then there’s that faintly queasy feeling you get when you see Donald Trump on the TV, visiting the UK on Friday, declaring his joy at the Brexit vote.

Meanwhile Angela Merkel invites President Obama to an emergency summit to discuss the fallout – the UK is, of course, excluded from what soon emerges as the new “special relationship” between the US and Germany.

The Brexiteers say you will “regain control”. But it won’t feel like that.

Instead, the economy lurches to recession; there’s upheaval in Westminster; no plan to allay concerns about immigration; another referendum in Scotland; a steep slide in Britain’s standing in the world.

Our wonderful country adrift – not in control. And for what?

Nigel, Michael and Boris still won’t be able to tell you why.




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