Brexit Britain Fails At First Step: Its Farewell Party

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

As Britain gets set for Brexit, even people who voted for it are struggling to muster up anything other than relief.

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LONDONSo, this is it. After 47 years of membership, Britain is finally leaving the European Union on Friday. It may have taken 1,316 days of screaming at each other since the referendum, and claimed the careers of two prime ministers, but at 11 p.m. the 17 million people who voted for Brexit three years ago will, for better or worse, get what they asked for.

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Now, given that all through the 2016 campaign, pro-Brexit campaigners spent their time casting the EU as a sinister, overreaching superstate that had shackled Britains potential for decades, you might assume that tonights historic strike of the clock would spark wild celebrations. Millions draped in Union Jacks, screaming Rule Britannia, and weeping warm, joyous tears into their even warmer pints of thick beige ale.

But, despite the best efforts of some of the most wild-eyed foot-soldiers of the Brexit campaign, tonights landmark will pass without any great fanfare. If you voted to remain, theres obviously nothing to celebrate. If you voted to leave, the vast majority had their moment of jubilation on the night of the referendum three-and-a-half years ago, but their enthusiasm has since suffered death by a thousand BBC News push alerts.

There have been attempts to create a national momentbut they have, without fail, been totally crap. Take Nigel Farages exit from the European Parliament earlier this week, which is a moment hes dreamed of throughout his entire political career. His grand gesture was to make a speech while his Brexit Party colleagues waved tiny plastic Union flags around him. The parliaments speaker simply cut off his mic, leaving him voiceless, in a perfect metaphor for Britains future in Europe.

A day later, in his continuing quest to give Brexit week some form of gravitas, the modest Farage attended the unveiling of a portrait of himself which was entitled Mr. Brexit. The unveiling was hosted by former game-show host Jim Davidson, who hasnt been allowed to appear on mainstream television for decades due to his propensity for making extremely terrible jokes about women, ethnic minorities, and disabled people.

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The official government-backed attempts to mark Brexit have fallen similarly flat. Firstly, a commemorative 50 pence coin was minted with the slogan, written in the kind of font that might be used for a menu of homeopathic treatments: Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations.

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There was also an extremely embarrassing campaign, announced and then disowned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to crowdfund for Big Benthe bell in parliaments famous clock towerto be temporarily restored to action during a refurbishment to bong loudly for the Brexit moment. More than 250,000 was raised to fund the effort, but that was only half of what was needed to get the bell working by Friday, so the idea was abandoned.

(Incidentally, if youre wondering why Britain is leaving the EU at 11 p.m. local time rather than midnight, its because that is midnight in Brussels, the de facto capital of the EU, and it gets to decide these kind of things now.)

There will, however, be a light show in Westminster to mark Brexit, and Johnson is reportedly due to give what has been billed as a special address to the nation on Friday evening. The government has also announced that in response to public calls, the Union Jack will be flown on all of the flag poles in Parliament Square, which is sure to be spectacular.

A nationwide chain of cheap-and-cheerful pubs, Wetherspoons, is marking the day by slashing the prices of drinks made in European countries, which the companys pro-Brexit CEO claims is his gesture to show that he wants Britain to remain friends with the EU after Friday night.

On Saturday, Britain will wake up, for the first time in nearly five decades, outside a European group of nations. Once the hangovers clear, and the people responsible for Brexit stop congratulating themselves for vaulting the first and smallest hurdle, the actual work begins to prove that leaving the EU was something worth celebrating.

Read more on: thedailybeast, britain, fails


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