With Brexit the United Kingdom made a decision: it is leaving, it will say goodbye to the wonderful bier of the European bureaucratic system. A choice that can surprise only those who are less familiar with the story of this extraordinary island, geographically close, but culturally distant, Queen of seas and continents back in time, so ineffably small and elitist at present. Its borders are narrow, but for the inhabitants of the island, it is a world inside another world.
So, who are these magnificent British people? A foot in the Atlantic, the other in Europe, the diversity of England has always been proudly fair, reciprocated by boundless admiration and deep aversion, for Napoleon’s army it is the perfidious Albion, for the Fascist propaganda it is the people of the five meals, but for the democratic and liberal public opinion, that island beyond the English Channel is the mother of the parliamentary system and a safe haven for a number of dissidents, from Mazzini to Karl Marx.
A people that long ago, in 1215, with the Magna Charta Libertatum had already mapped out the limits of the absolute power of the monarchy. For centuries, Great Britain dominated the world, influencing it from a cultural and literary points of view; What would the old continent be without the home of the Bard (William Shakespeare) whose works already in the 1500 London spoke to us, our feelings, passions and torments? What would be our music without Genesis and Pink Floyd, David Bowie and Elton John? It is also homeland to many myths and icons of popular culture such as Robin Hood, Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Here, the most famous secret agent film (James Bond) has received his “license to kill.”
Europe has never ceased to look at England with admiration, a nation that with coal, water and steam made the industrial revolution. The nation that invented the train, the railway, and tanks, that has improved our lives thanks to amenities such as a refrigerator and heating and allowed us to live longer thanks to penicillin. Snobbish and classist like no other, still the British invented trade union struggles and the feminist movement, only they are able to look to the future while fiercely clinging to their traditions, which they claim with pride.
They are individualists par excellence. They are the only ones to call the strait that separates them from the mainland The English Channel instead of La Manche, widely used by the French; in their view of the world, it is not Britain that is detached from the mainland, but the continent is the one to be detached from Britain, a clear sign of a paroxysmal and hilarious self-centeredness, of a natural proclivity to make any problem boil down to themselves and never the other way around, a cosmic individualism, exasperated, claimed with pride, at times hilarious, unbearable traits for those who live on the mainland, but they have always honored themselves with a coherent existential conduct. They are the only ones in Europe to drive on the left, measure in inches and weigh in ounces.
The English Breakfasts is completely different from the continental one, also true humor is British, along with many sports: football, rugby, tennis, cricket, and golf are British and in the “magnificent Albion” they have found their rules. Backed by a global language they spread long before their Yankee cousins did so, nothing would make the British give up on their Pound. Besides, one has to be British to reconcile skirts, punk crests and a more traditional look, or the unrepeatable decade of the Beatles and the 80 of the Iron Lady.
The empire no longer exists, their colonies have vanished, but everything in the UK echoes their Old Greatness, ancient grandeur that was hegemonic over three quarters of the planet back in times. In London, the vibrant capital city where you can find everything. People from all over the world come here, looking for business in the largest global financial center, colleges and universities still capable of forming an elite. Who does not love them, imagines them in the essential ritual of the afternoon tea or engaged in foxhunting, where Oscar Wilde used to say: the ineffable goes in pursuit of the unimaginable.
According to Agatha Christie, coffee always tastes like a chemical experiment, our wonderful islanders have not lost a war since 1783, being able to repel the invincible armada, defeating Napoleon and resisting Hitler. Given all this, rises an inevitable natural question: What will happen to Europe without these magnificent British?