Irony in Britain’s quest for independence

Published 12:57 am Wednesday, June 29, 2016

“Isn’t it ironic — don’t you think — a little too ironic.”

Those lyrics are humming around in my head this morning. I think it might have something to do with the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.

Yep, July 4th is coming, our nation’s yearly celebration of independence. Remember how that story goes?

The colonists in America wanted to be free of the folks in England telling them what to do. They were also tired of paying taxes they felt were unfair, something about taxation without representation.

So, they got some smart guys together at the Second Continental Congress, held in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, and they declared the colonies independent sovereign states no longer under British rule.

These words at the end of the Declaration of Independence say what the newly sovereign states desired. “…these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved;…”

They all signed their John Hancock on the dotted line and then retired to enjoy cold watermelon and barbecue in their respective backyards. Well, that’s what I think happened even if history didn’t record anything about it.

Now to the irony thing. America prepares to celebrate another Independence Day while the British are in the midst of declaring their independence from the European Union (EU).

Quick lesson – the EU started back in the 1950s when a group of European nations said they were tired of going to war with each other. So they decided to do business and be friends — make money, not war. A bunch of other stuff happened, but the outcome was the EU, which established open borders, uniform regulations, a complicated political and economic bureaucracy based in Brussels, and a common currency, the “euro.”

I don’t really understand Brexit, (a catchy name for Britain exiting the EU) but I think the general idea is that the British don’t like people outside of Britain telling them what to do and then paying those folks for the privilege of having them tell them what to do.

Does that have a familiar ring to it over here in the colonies?

Oh I know it is more complicated and involves economic stuff (pretty sure there is math involved and we know about me and math), but it does sound like our friends across the pond are staging their own independence event.

As one website put it: “Britain ruled the world for a while, and many conservative Britons just don’t like the idea of their great, powerful nation submitting itself to a namby-pamby union.” (And all deceased American colonists chant karma baby, karma.)

Oh, I hear Brexit is about immigration too. Seems they want more control over who comes into their country. (Bet the Native Americans have some thoughts on immigration they could share with them and us).

Anyway, the world is atwitter with what’s going to happen now that Brexit is a reality. There are predictions of gloom and doom. One website says it’s a sign of “end times” talked about in the Bible.

Even the British people aren’t sure what their declaration of independence means, probably something they needed to know before they voted to Brexit.

Anyway, the important question, what does this mean for me? The Washington Post answered this way.

“Brexit would likely make your mortgage more affordable, your 401k temporarily less valuable, and the idea of spending your next vacation in Britain more appealing.”

Ironic don‘t you think. Next week, we celebrate independence from Britain and its oppressive rules, requirements and taxation. Britain celebrates (kinda) independence from the rules, regulations and fees imposed by the EU.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see how Brexit turns out. In the meantime, let’s celebrate with some watermelon, backyard barbecue and fireworks — like I’m sure the colonists did that first July 4th.


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.