Antonio Tajani, head of the EU Parliament, said today, yes you little Englanders can turn back and we would all jump up and down with pleasure if you do turn back from leaving. Prime Minister Theresa May was quite terribly tempted to toss him in the Clink–had the Clink not been repurposed into a frou-frou hostel, so I am told. Throw ‘im into the Tower then!
Why do so many little Englanders seem to believe both 1) life stinks because we are being taken advantage of by millions of horrid unruly Europeans from places far away that we have never heard of, and also 2) we will surely be able to continue going on holiday to southern Spain and Portugal and Slovakia and the Croatian coast without any fuss or bother, but they are not going to be allowed in to take our jobs and pollute our beautiful land. Somehow it is not going to work out. Twenty-seven European countries are not about to agree unanimously to set a precedent making it painless for any one of them to opt out of the bothersome parts but keep the freebies, especially free trade and movement.
Even if plenty of the English–the Scots and Welsh are plenty pro-EU already–wake up to the need for loss aversion pronto, what and whom would they want to vote for? (This was, sadly, a big problem last fall in the US.) Jeremy Corbyn has had the luxury for decades of seeing the EU as a club for capitalists, but now it’s for real, and I have no idea what he wants to do should he find himself empowered. Maybe Nicola Sturgeon could emerge as the leader of a coalition bloc, and seize the Prime Ministership! Then we have a new script for saboteur-crushing, would we not? Prorogation could take a surprising turn; new prerogatives could emerge. There could indeed be back-turning and turning back, 500 years after Luther said that the whole life of believers should be repentance.
Nigel Farage says it’s up to British politicians to “mend fences” and Kellyanne Conway says Obama and Clinton are obliged to talk protesters down. Don’t be gaslit: they are just working the refs. Obama and Clinton already acknowledge Trump as a legitimately elected president, while Trump all but promised disruption if he had lost. And Trump has said plenty about what he feels are the shortcomings of political leaders in Europe and elsewhere. Those leaders are now obliged, on behalf of their citizens, to deal with Trump. But Angela Merkel and Nicola Sturgeon, among others, felt the need to lay down markers. It was stunning to read this from Chancellor Merkel: “Germany and America are bound by common values–democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of each and every person, regardless of their origin, skin color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or political views. It is based on these values that I wish to offer close cooperation, both with me personally and between our countries’ governments.” That is flipping the script big league on national stereotypes.
I say Trump should be watched very closely, given the chance to pivot away from his own nastiness, and encouraged to make choices on behalf of everyone he represents–which, for better or worse, is all Americans. We the people always need to be vigilant toward our political representatives. With Trump, just as with a young person, we need especially to be firm, fair, and consistent. Melania knows as well as anyone that we are likely to hear quite a bit of “boy talk”; keeping a watchful grownup eye on our Elagabulus-like boy-emperor is shaping up to be a challenge