Maybe British Prime Minister Theresa May needs to change her country’s Brexit focus. Instead of severing ties with the European Union, maybe she should address the relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States, and disunite them. It would be a Brexit from that so-called “special relationship” with the U.S.
Never mind that a majority of the Brits voting chose to leave the E.U. As predicted, it has proven uncommonly difficult, to the point that there is some talk of holding another referendum. The pro-Europe forces might have an easier time if they combined their proposal with a pledge to also disengage with their former American colonies. Since Donald Trump has become president, the overall approval of the USA in jolly old England is about 50-50. That’s in spite of the fact that we speak the same language. Sort of.
True, the Brits are going through major turmoil, but then so are we over Trump’s insistence on building a wall spanning our southern borders. No walls in the U.K., unless you count the white cliffs of Dover.
I mean, seriously, do we really have all that much in common? They have Queen Elizabeth II; we do not. “Queen Melania” won’t cut it, even though the first lady is a much snazzier dresser. That is, when she doesn’t have writing on her jackets.
The British royalty’s ideal is that cultural “stiff upper lip,” meaning mannered unflappability under all circumstances. Compare that with the amazing loose lips of Trump that flap like crazy. Anything might spew out. Then there is the toxic drivel from The Donald’s fingers, proving that one doesn’t have to have large hands to expel hatred on one’s smartphone.
Trump is trying to wriggle out of the mess he created, just like the Brexiteers. So there are some similarities. Prime Minister May has run into a wall when she negotiates with the European Union for a deal that’s politically acceptable back home. Trump’s insistence on a wall between the United States and Mexico has run into — wait for it — a wall with Democrats who are unmoved by his threats, bluster and amateurish tactics, or what the Brits might call “codswallop.”
Across the pond — a pretentious way of saying “over in England” — Theresa May barely survived a “no confidence” vote, and she gets to stay in 10 Downing Street, for now. We have no mechanism like that. So for now, pending the special prosecutor’s findings, the president also gets to stay in the White House. Our Founders wanted to create a more stable government. How’s that stability thingy working out for us?
At least their government is up and running, fully operational. Ours is partly shut down. The most optimistic takeaway from the latest paltry offer from the American president is that perhaps the Democrats will decide they’ve squeezed all the precious bodily fluids they can out of Trump and scratch out a deal with him.
On both sides of the Atlantic, government leaders are showing that they are unworthy of their positions, but the real onus is on the voters here and there, who have demonstrated we can be influenced by demagoguery and choose to make serious mistakes.
Bob Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN.
© 2019 Bob Franken
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