Brexit, democracy, and the will of the people


Reviewer TV Vox Populi

I’m in Sydney and have been talking to some “foreigners”, who, as an American is a rarity for me I guess. The upcoming British exit to the E.U. has been on the minds of many of the Brits I’ve seen, and there’s a few of them here in Sydney.

Ian Commons is an art scenester here and March was the Art Month here. I talked to him for a few moments at the Lansdown bar for a brief Vox Populi clip and he expressed the opinion that although the upcoming Brexit “crash out” without a deal may be destructive to England the original vote in favor of leaving should be honored.

Commons said he originally voted “Remain”. Although he’s a Sydney resident and an Australian citizen he has dual citizenship due to being from London, and most Londoners voted “Remain” in 2016. But if the vote was held again today he said he’d switch his choice to “Leave” because of England being the birthplace of democracy, he said, and the will of the people must be honored.


Brexit vox populi, Ian Commons in Sydney.
Brexit vox populi, Ian Commons in Sydney.


When: Thursday, March 28, 2019. Days before England left the E.U.
Where: The Lansdowne Hotel bar, in Sydney, Australia, during their city-wide “Art Month”.

Rob: So, this is Prospector Magazine, Reviewer Rob here, and we’re talking “Brexit” and why it’s happening and why it’s good or bad or– First of all, you’re name again?
Ian: I’m Ian, I’m in from London originally, I’ve been in Sydney for 10 years.
Rob: So are you a citizen?
Ian: I’m also a citizen of London, 42 years in London–
Rob: And Australia?
Ian: And Australia.
Rob: The best of both worlds.
Ian: I feel privileged– I’m lucky. Yeah, it’s beautiful, how lucky am I to live in such a beautiful place.
Rob: Absolutely you guys are very lucky, but they’re doing Brexit this month in a few days I guess, right?
Ian: They’re starting that on Friday– and for some weird reason after 700 years of democracy in England they voted for something and now it isn’t going to happen.
Rob: It is or isn’t?
Ian: It’s not going to happen, I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Rob: Are you sure?
Ian: No– they’re still fudging around, they’re still talking about it.
Rob: You think they’ll be able to get out of it?
Ian: Out of what?
Rob: Exit– or Brexit
Ian: No. Brex-shit as they call it. What’s happened is that the people that voted for it, the people that own the country, didn’t want it to happen.
Rob: all of the British oligarchs.
Ian: Of course.
Rob: Theresa May wanted it.
Ian: No she didn’t.
Rob: She didn’t?
Ian: No she was against it. There was only a few of them, anyone who voted for it, which I didn’t, was called racist and horrible in this weird new Trump-ism world. Anyone who voted for Trump is obviously a scum racist bastard and all that. But obviously there are (unintelligible) people that did that, they did it for their own reasons, they didn’t want to have a woman or whatever. There was a whole plethora —
Rob: (Interrupting) Trump was bragging at the time, saying, when he was being elected in 2016, he was saying, “Yeah, yeah I’m gonna be the American Brexit!” Like it was a populous movement.
Ian: Yeah, yeah yeah and the thing is you’ll probably get another 4 years, because the other side hasn’t put anyone else up. All they’ve done is slag him off for four years. But at the same time you can’t slag someone off without putting someone against him. So he’s obviously the best person in America to run the country, which is the most ridiculous thing on earth.
Rob: Geographically the people of London voted popularly against. They wanted to Remain, and the rural people —
Ian: It wasn’t a London thing. It was a Britain thing. (Unintelligible remark) It’s a British — and most people voted to leave.
Rob: Sort of like the Trump election.
Ian: Completely, completely.
Rob: Many of the big cities– the educated people– so to speak, didn’t vote for Trump but middle America voted for Trump, and it was the same with England right? Out in the rural areas they voted for exit.
Ian: Exactly the same thing, which is what democracy is, and it has been for 500-600 years, that’s what democracy is. Democracy isn’t about these people that went to the same university, that watch the same TV shows and read the same papers. That’s not democracy. Democracy is a country.
Rob: Right, well we’ve got the electoral system in America, and then the super delegates who can vote for whoever they want, it doesn’t matter what their constituents vote for.
Ian: And who’s going to be the next president in two years time?
Rob: Probably Trump, yeah, you’re right.
Ian: Why?! What’s wrong with your country?
Rob: Because everyone’s afraid of him, he’s the big dog.
Ian: Afraid of what? You’re brave people!
Rob: Afraid of– just afraid of him. They’re afraid he’ll tweet about them! [laughs]
Ian: So that’s how scared America is.
Rob: But getting back to Brexit–
Ian: So Brexit– Brexit is a trade deal. Britain never joined up to Brexit– they joined up to– in 1972 they signed a common market with nine countries, over the last 40 odd years it’s become this superpower of weird– it’s like having your country run by FIFA. It’s having your country run by this undemocratic, unelected body. It’s a bit like having America run by someone in fucking– Canada, it’s a weird system.
Rob: Well you know, if you had to predict what is gonna happen in England in the next year after Brexit, what do you think it’s gonna be like? Is it gonna be anarchy, cannibalism?
Ian: Nothing! [laughs] This ain’t a war it’s a trade deal it’s fuckall! it’s nothing!
Rob: Nothing? You don’t think it will affect the economy at all?
Ian: No, It’s going to be very disappointing that democracy had ended after 700 years, the longest democracy in the world is in Britain and it’s ended with Brexit.
Rob: What do you mean by that?
Ian: Because you have democracy, but democracy has said that we don’t want to be in Europe, and democracy is now somewhere hanging– it’s quite a serious thing.
Rob: So you don’t think that there will be more unemployment you don’t think that there will be more and more vacant storefronts? You don’t think that it will affect the economy at all?
Ian: No! And if it does then who cares! So some rich people lose some fucking money, the people who voted for Brexit anyhow have nothing, what’s half of fucking nothing, nothing! It’s like we don’t care! The rural people aren’t all worried about fucking shares and stocks, they’re just worried about trying to put something on their table for their kids. They don’t care about the economy.
Rob: And that’s why they voted for Brexit.
Ian: I didn’t vote for Brexit, I’m a remainer!
Rob: They– I said they. That’s why they voted for Brexit because they thought it would be more local.
Ian: A small section, most people that I know who voted for Brexit were just a bit bored of not having a judiciary and not having any laws to be passed it was always you had to go beyond and ask Brussels and that’s why most people I know voted for it. It was nothing to do with– it was to do with losing your sovereignty. As I said, no one has a British passport, they have a European passport.
Rob: They wanted control.
Ian: So you give away control to a body that has invented itself after the past 40 years. You only have to watch the Eurovision song contest and match how much continental Europe hates Britain, we come last every time, and if there’s one thing Britains good at it’s writing fucking songs and making music.
Rob: Writing songs? Making pop music?
Ian: Making popular music, and you can’t argue with that.
Rob: The next Depeche Mode, the next Beatles.
Ian: And what happens is we come last every year in the Eurovision song contest every year.
Rob: Oh, that sucks, if I was you guys I would be pissed off.
Ian: Well of course, so we know they hate us anyway, so– [laughs] It’s like– but at the same time I’m a remainer! I like having a purple passport, I like going everywhere, I lived in Berlin for 15 years. I was married to an Italian, wait–wait– I am fucking pure European, I am European in my blood, it’s all there!
Rob: Well to close out I’d like you to tell me more about what you mean by the 700 years of democracy being ended by Brexit. What does that mean?
Ian: So the oldest living democracy on the planet is in Britain, yes? After Magna Carta–
Rob: The oldest? Yeah yeah yeah, when the nobles rose up and said, “No.”
Ian: Yes, It’s constant. And in a way finally Parliament did something, and they let the people vote on something, and they’ve not allowed it to happen. That’s the weirdest part. Somehow the (unintelligible) or the new world or the, “I wanna give– my opinions worth more because I’m louder than you because I’ve got the (unintelligible) and you haven’t.”
Has now taken over just voting in a ballot box.
Rob: So do you think if it happened again Britain would vote for Brexit again?
Ian: Probably. This is the point of that old thought like, what if you lose again? Does that mean you have a third vote?
Rob: Isn’t there a grassroots movement rising up saying, “I don’t know maybe we shouldn’t have done this, maybe this was a mistake.”
Ian: No, no, no. This could happen every single time, this is my point– you have a referendum, and if it goes that way it means, “I know you’re wrong, we’ll do it again.”
If it happens again, who’s to say it won’t happen, even more so? If anything I voted to remain last time I would vote to leave this time. And I’m not the only one, because that was what you know– this weird sort of rewind because we’re noisy on Twitter.
Rob: I was talking to one girl from England, she was saying today that the next day after the Brexit vote the biggest google search phrase was, “What is Brexit?”
Ian: Yes exactly.
Rob: It was like they voted for something that they didn’t know what it was.
Ian: No it’s a trade deal with Europe, that’s all Brexit is! It’s not a fucking world war. It’s nothing, it’s a meaningless thing anyway! It’s just like what we say is, “We’re not allowed to deal with America or anywhere else in the world unless we go through Brussels.”
That’s what Brexit is. Brexit is a trade deal where you’re not allowed to deal with any other country other than you know, the (unintelligible) countries in the world.
Rob: Well it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens, to watch the whole thing, so–
Ian: It’s been– if you ask me it’s been (unintelligible). I’m quite happy to watch it.
Rob: [laughs] Well thank you for the interview, Ian.

Find errors in this transcription? It can happen. Please email Rob with any corrections you uncover,

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