EU Referendum Explained Using Romantic Relationships Vocabulary

Illustration by yet unknown author

Illustration by yet unknown author

The upcoming Brexit referendum is a huge event. Not only in the UK or in Europe as you might think but on a global level. In this piece I will try to explain some of the realities of the Brexit in a very informal manner, by comparing states with high schoolers and political relations with actual relationships and friendships.

From this point it is worth highlighting that this piece is meant simply to explain some realities (and tell you why you should care about them) in a simple, user friendly way. There will be no discussion about the law, the treaties or anything like that. Thus, I want to make it clear from the beginning that the reality is far more complicated than what I present here and the implications are far more serious and complex.

Let’s begin with why is this important for about every state and not just UK and Europe. Think about that one friend you have that started a relationship and since then he forgot about all his friends. If you have met that type you will know that when that relation is over that friend will give you a call to “hang out and catch up”. The UK might have to send some of those (awkward) text messages starting the 24th of June.

Chances are you know people that are ‘organised’ in a group of friends. Better yet, you might be part of such a group; one that is long established and some of its members know each other for years and have been through a lot together. Imagine the European Union as being such a group of ‘friends’.

In every group of friends, there is one member that is better with finances, other is a lawyer and other one is a doctor who is able to tell you what drugs to take when you have an infection. The premise is that when one member does not know something, the others will try to help him because one all the members do well, the group does well.

Having started as a quite small group some years back, the group became soon after its formation very attractive to those outside of it because of its success and the way the members treated each other. Again, you might have some first hand experience with the feeling of wanting to be part of a group of people that always seems to go to the best places, live the best experiences and so on. Thus, as the time goes by more people want to join. Nobody denies that it is a relation based on interest as much as, or maybe even more than, on similar culture in this European group we are talking about. The group has a lot to offer and is looking forward for individuals that also have things to offer to them. Quite fair.

After a while the group gets big and as per usual there are always members of the group that oppose new additions for various reasons. Perhaps one of them had a previous conflict with one of the prospective new members, or other is known to be quite lazy or known for not paying his debts. Nonetheless the success of the group attracts more people and eventually the group gets somewhere to 28 members with others still trying to join.

At a certain point one of these members decides that he does not feel well as being part of the group anymore. But more than this he starts throwing criticism at the group itself and at some of its members in particular. Furthermore, in a more or less obvious way, he is accusing certain newer members of ruining what was once a good and “cool” group.

So what this member does it that it announces its intention to leave and does so very publicly so as to show everybody that the group is not as good as they think it is and also to encourage the others members of the group to do something to stop it from living. Much like when you girlfriend tells everybody at the table that she is very much annoyed by the way you treat her. She seeks not only to make you change but also send a message to everybody about how you behave and also to put an additional pressure on you to make the adjustments she wants.

Furthermore, this member starts this process of negotiations and starts talking publicly about the existent problems in a moment when the group faces other big problems as well, some of them even threatening its existence. Let’s say the group has to deal with a very delicate moment one of its members is going through, being in a financial crisis. Other external factors also put a lot of pressure on the group and there seems to be a conflict in which the relations are either strengthened, either they get broken. Somehow forgetting that he is a member of the same group, he member that wants to leave seems rather uninterested about what will happen with the group and uses these moments to put pressure in order to reach his objectives.

But the interesting point is that this member does not really want to lose any of the benefits of being a member of the group. It seems like what this member wants is the equivalent of that friend that does not answer when you call him but expects you to always be there for him. Another reason why this exit could prove problematic is because this member does not have a very good idea of what is coming next.

One hypothesis is that once out of the group this member will try to re-establish ties with those who will stay in the group. Much like that moment when you tell somebody that you see him or her more like a “not-so-close” friend. Or you tell them that “I like you, but not some of your other 20 friends”.

You know that friend that always complains when going out and asked about a different option he remains silent? Or, even worse, starts to criticise your plans even more? “I am not saying we should go somewhere else, I am just saying this place sucks”.
This is however not the only problem this member has. Much like how your family and some of your other friends give you advice when you fight with a certain friend, the member that thinks about living is also receiving advice from different parts. The problem is that he seems to consider all advice pro staying as manipulation and all advice to leave as a genuine good advice. And, when he does not like what he hears, this member tends to become very agitated.

A very good example is when the US president told the UK that in order to strike a separate trade deal, the UK would have to “join the queue”. Some people from the UK got very revolted that the US president dared to share this opinion on this matter. Much like you would get very revolted if somebody told you that as much as they value your friendship with you, they have some other friends as well and they need to protect their interests too. How dare they say that to you?

As mentioned in the beginning this article was not meant to present an exact reality of what is happening but only to simply explain some occurring events in an informal matter.

Poet and writer, Alec is currently pursuing a degree in law and he is deeply passinated about human rights and humanity. He is also a full time art lover and dreamer that never says no to long conversations about life, love and humans. His latest novel is called A hospital four souls.

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