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How could those Brexit idiots win?

June 27, 2016 15:27 IST

BrexitStupidity knows no boundaries just like smartness, oxygen, and maybe football, says Maharaj Damodardas.

Stupidity.

There is something about it that makes well-meaning men and women dive headlong into its unforgiving arms.

On a lovely Sunday afternoon when the rain is pouring lovingly onto this heat scorched piece of earth, why should I be thinking about stupidity? Well, dear reader, reasons I have many. Let's say the poor choice of beverage that I decided to indulge in a couple of minutes back. But I assure you folks it's not the beverage alone that makes me think about man's momentary lapses of reason this lovely afternoon.

It's the nerve-racking Friday that just went by that has me most puzzled. That a certain country that used to rule us in the past thought they had bought independence for themselves. Yes, my friend, I am talking about Brexit.

That momentous event when 52 per cent of stiff upper-lipped comrades who love fish and chips decided to rush out of a very special marriage called the European Union.

I was sure the British would opt to stay in the EU and make it work better. But as the results filtered in on Friday morning, I realised I had underestimated the stupidity of folks in that part of the world.

I remember talking to a friend the day before, blabbering how disastrous Brexit would be. Markets will tank -- as if the current bout of global uncertainty was not enough --and the British pound will take a beating.

I railed about how a global financial hub and cultural melting pot -- read London -- has much to lose. Jobs will go as companies shift to other parts of Europe to service the continent.

I barked numbers --always the best way to scare off people -- about manufacturing companies who will shift to the EU.

I warned how long trade re-negotiations will impact British exports, and how it will lose its status as a key link between Asia and the Americas through European territory.

Sadly, the things I warned my friend about are already in play. The pound fell to a 30 year low and $2 trillion of wealth was wiped out in a single day across the world on Black Friday. All in a single day! And it will get much worse before it gets better.

Emboldened by the British, the fringe and the anti-establishment -- similar to the 'dharna' worshippers here -- in many parts of Europe are calling for similar referendums. They are using the anger of jobs lost, unfamiliarity of different cultures, and the patriotism of the vicious to break away from a great European venture.

A venture that started after centuries of wars, a venture that decided to dissolve borders, a venture that fought for integration, a venture that dared to appeal to the better dreams of humanity.

Oh how I want to appeal to the inner wisdom of my European friends to see the stupidity of arguments that seek to break, not heal. As I scan the news today, I hear that many in Britain have suddenly realised their folly, calling for a second referendum and ruing a broken relationship. Alas, they are too late.

I leave you with two bits of thought. First, your bad choices might be induced for someone's (smart) ambitions. Take our British brethren, for example. How dear Boris Johnson and Nigel not-so-dear Farage invoked evil immigrants and imaginary subservience to Brussels to coax the British. Those two have won, my British friends -- you have lost. Poor you.

Second, stupidity knows no boundaries just like smartness, oxygen, and maybe football. For a long time I thought we Indians were the only ones making strange choices at the ballot box. We believed when the right spoke of might. Do you remember how we sheepishly handed over terrorists in Kandahar?

We believed so-called liberals when they claimed they were leading us to salvation, but instead were reinforcing feudalism. So, relish the fact that others across our borders -- the West and the East -- are also like us, or maybe worse as the British showed us recently.

But, do pray, that come November those in the most powerful nation on earth dig deeper and discover some wisdom. Otherwise, we will be left with an obstreperous demagogue with lots of nuclear buttons to play with.

Maharaj Damodardas