Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

UK: lessons in humility

5 December 2016


If anything, Brexit has caused people teaching the UK lessons in humility. To some extent, these are deserved but some of them also feel like gloating: expressing satisfaction at the misfortune of others.

Donald Trump seems to be in a gloating role following his non-invitation to the British PM to visit him and his suggestion to appoint Farage as the UK ambassador in the USA. This even forced the UK to state: “We appoint our own ambassadors” and “there is no vacancy for that position“.

A part of the humiliation is self-inflicted though. Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem: “[Boris Johnson] is saying things that are intellectually impossible, politically unavailable, so I think he’s not offering the British people a fair view of what is available and what can be achieved in these negotiations.” (Guardian)

The UK no longer has the EU as a common enemy to blame for everything. Blaming others is however a second nature of the Brits. In the absence of the EU, now Brits blame themselves (eg, UK’s High Court judges as enemies of the people).

Brexit has become an internal UK debate which might work very well for the EU as it will prevent other nations from leaving. Reuters: “Support for the European Union has surged to multi-year highs in the bloc’s biggest countries following last month’s Brexit vote”.

It is beyond me why Brits think, feel and believe that we in Continental Europe would suffer more from a Brexit than they would. It might be ignorance or reverse psychologyFT: “Mario Draghi has warned that Britain, rather than the eurozone, will “first and foremost” feel the pain of Brexit, as he called for clarity over the negotiation process that will govern the UK’s departure from the EU.”

Carlo Calenda, Italy’s economic development minister, simplified things in a Bloomberg interview by stating: “[Boris Johnson] basically said, ‘I don’t want free movement of people but I want the single market.’ “I said, ‘no way.’ He said, ‘you’ll sell less prosecco.’ I said, ‘OK, you’ll sell less fish and chips, but I’ll sell less prosecco to one country and you’ll sell less to 27 countries.’ Putting things on this level is a bit insulting.”

I have a mixed relationship with the Brits. I admire them but do not trust them. In my professional life at Price Waterhouse, I noticed a lack of straightforwardness in Brits (eg, hidden agendas). In the view of others, it’s part of their culture (eg, perfidious Albion). Hence, I still think, feel and believe that Brexit will never happen. I outlined my arguments for that in my 15 October 2016 blog: May’s Machiavellian Moves.
Our love for Great Britain is not in its politics but in the people representing its culture like the Beatles, David Bowie, Queen, and the Rolling Stones. The use of English as a second language in Continental Europe is another token of appreciation.

However, “don’t mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me.” A quote by Al Capone.

UK – Nothing to Lose (1979) – artist 1, artist 2, artist 3, artist 4lyrics, video, Wiki

Nothing to show but no-one to stop me I’m going away

I’m kicking my heels, rolling the wheels and I’m leaving today


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