On 23rd of June 2016, Britain voted and that´s how the United Kingdom decided to split from the European Union. The portuguese point of view of this situation from the several thousands of nationals currently living in British Territory was thoroughly explored. But no one wanted to hear from all the portugueses living inside the British Antarctic Territory. As self appointed Foreign Affairs Minister, Major General of the Armed Forces, ambassador and council representative of the portuguese community in the British Antarctic Territory, I found upon myself to narrate such experience.
First of all, the referendum happened during Midwinter week. On Tuesday we had a big cerimonial dinner celebrating the middle point of our adventure and next Friday we had the whole Europe upside down, mostly because some clever chair pulling from the British far right (and also with a couple of blatant lies in the mix, as one would expect).
Whenever someone starts to take these right wing nut jobs seriously, its a matter of time until social problems show their ugly mugs and Brexit wasn’t an exception.
As someone living in a country brutalized by the neoliberal derive (more right wing policies… go figure…) of the “European Union” in the last few years, you’ll not see me standing for it, of that I’m certain.
Why did I use quotes back there? For me there are currently two European Unions. There’s the Union between European countries with the purpose of easing up living among countries, comercial trade, social and scientific development and, perhaps the important one, maintaining peace throughout the whole continent. And then we also have the “European Union”, which is nothing more than a school of big fishes in obscenely expensive ties, pilled up inside a sort of glass tomb in Brussels, caring only for the all powerful and imune european banking system while ignoring all the misery and destruction that this process implies.
I’m 100% behind the first and willing to defend it as one of the brilliant ideas of the 20th century. I’m 100% against the second one and believe that every second spent among this neoliberal scum is a pure waste.
From what I’ve gathered from my British friends, and from the news and opinion articles that made their way down South, the British were mostly disappointed with the bureaucratic “Union” rather than with the geographical one. Along with any other minimally informed and educated european citizen. But unlike most of us, in 2016 the British had a chance to voice their revolt and react to these Unions. Unfortunately these two are stuck together for all time.
The way I see it, the European Union was always a really nice lady that treated us fairly. But in the last years this lovely woman unfortunately developed a serious cancer, the neoliberal type one. This cancer goes right to th brain and causes profound personality changes, always for the worst. The Union itself is not that different nor decided to become evil just because. The Union is gravelly ill and if we don’t treat her, she might end up dying.
Unfortunately the referendum didn’t mention anything about a cure. It was all about keeping her close or divorce it for good.
Like many, I followed the situation without ever believing on the end result. I even go as far as to say that, during that off week, Brexit was the last thing on my mind. Until that Friday that is.
From a legal standpoint, any result would have little to no influence on my life at that point. My only concern was with the evaluation of the pound against the euro. I had a simple plan: use the first paychecks in Antarctica to clear out the remaining of my student loan. As many students nowadays, I was forced to apply for a bank loan during my University days to be able to face the monthly rents, tuition fees and other expenses that arise from, you know, living. But since I hate owning stuff to anyone and I have a historical peeve with that abject concept that is the compost interest, when I found myself living in Antarctica I immediately used the fact that we don’t use money down here to build up some nice savings so I could clear that loan once and for all, and as quickly as I could in order to minimize the damage from the compound interest. But my loan lived in euros while my paychecks came in pounds.
I honestly believed that Brexit would never came through. It was such a bad idea for everyone! And I still believe that, given how close the polls were, if it wasn’t for the blatant lies and demagogic plays from the far right idiots, the European Union would remain intact and maybe by today we would already be on our way to clear it from its neoliberal parasites.
Next morning, when the final result got confirmed, everyone was dumbfounded in Halley. There was no surprises behind the fact that the United Kingdom was disappointed with the Union’s internal management. Again, just another country in a long list of annoyed ones with the imbecile decisions of a group of “enlightened” individuals that, without anyone know exactly how, decide whole sets of economic rules but without any context, or intelligence for that matter, for a whole continent. Just think: one of the worst portuguese politicians ever was in charge of the “Union” for quite some time. As a fellow portuguese, I can see a trail of destruction and corruption both in my country, during the years that Durão Barroso was chief of government, and a few years later throughout the Union members. When this character got himself in charge of a group of countries instead of just one, the parasitic nature of the “Union” almost exploded, something that left me sad and pissed off, but not surprised.
Once I got wind of the result and the consequential free fall of the pound against the euro, I pretty much spend the morning of June 24th creating international transfer orders in order to save as much as I could of what I had earned until then. It took some agility and imagination from my end since I was isolated in Antarctica while trying to transfer all my money on the other side of the planet.
By the end of that day I got hurt from both sides: the pound was at an historical maximum against the euro during the 3 months that I lived in Cambridge, from all the places in the Kingdom. All my money was in euros at the time. Lets say that I had a rough couple of months with a lot of economic juggles in between. And when I was finally making some decent amount of pounds, this happens!
I’m pissed not so much at Brexit but mostly to these idiotic economic rules that control us to an extent. In today’s world, money is a shapeless concept, almost imaginary at times. Until you buy something, all of your money is but a variable in a bank’s database. That’s it. Just a few ones and zeros separates you from any other billionaire out there. Yet its intrinsic value is subjected to a insane volatility. Millions of pounds and euros vanish and appear out of thin air these days in those magician’s dens that are the european stock markets. Am I the only one the finds something very wrong in this?
Money ceased to be an abstraction of resources a long time ago. Nowadays is something plastic, that stretches and shrinks at a central bank’s desires, of all the places. Humanity has been plagued by periodical economic crisis since the beginning of the 20th century. What I find really dumb is to be surprised by them while we insist in supporting all our society on a weird and opaque financial system.
I always had an almost innate interest in the evident flaws of our financial system. But I must confess that I had to be in this situation to be more vocal about it, ironically whilst spending 15 months in a mini society in which we didn’t even use money to start with.
After my own bank Brexit, life in Halley went back to its normal self, of sorts, since now we had this ghost hovering us. Its not surprising that every british on base were against leaving the European Union. Though most brits are well educated and open minded, the folks that end up down here normally take this concept to new heights.
This is just to say that the majority of Leave votes were from ill informed people, victims of the constant sand trowing into their eyes by a far right minority. The main identification document in the U.K is the passport. I think that says a lot about those folks.
Brexit was mostly a cry of revolt against the same old political system but unfortunately that cry came with a price and now its too late to go back.
In the days that followed the referendum, when the dust finally settled or when everyone saw the true courage of the far right idiots which, as the cowards and spineless idiots that they are, had run away upon seeing the first glimpse of the gigantic pile of crap that they were fervently asking just a few weeks ago , there were plenty of regretful voices. When the media covered the xenophobic and racist attacks that were being executed throughout the country – all of them from a ignorant and insignificant minority but that was getting massive amplified by the bloodthirsty, right wing media, there were loads of people voicing public apologies for voting Leave once they understand that they got played by the far-right idiots and respective entourage.
The voting was really, really close. Even if the U.K goes ahead with the exit, we must always remember that this was not an unanimous decision, quite opposite actually! If the campaign had been transparent and every British person had been fully aware of the consequences of this decision, if Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage got confronted with their own blatant lies instead of running around the country spewing their wet fantasies upon the unsuspected citizens, I’m pretty sure the result had been quite different.
Assuming any far-right party as a viable choice, even if only for a few months, was a mistake made by most British.
Any political party needs to be looked upon with a great dose of scepticism and distrust. Its vital that citizen keep politicians on a short leach at all times. In particular, right wing parties should take with an extra dose of distrust since their rap sheet is the worst of all, regardless of the country. But in any moment at all should anyone consider any far-right alternative as possible. Any reaction other than despise and repugnance at those types of people is a waste of time and oxygen. Extremist parties are only good for public humiliation and mockery. If not, they may think themselves as legit and that’s how a certain moustachy fellow from Austria put the whole continent in disarray about 70 years ago or so.
I ended up needed two more salaries to be able to clear that goddamn credit. Well, the truth is, I would gladly came here for free. Anything that I can get over zero is always a victory.