Burning Bridges in the Name of Independence

  • Update: September 26, 2016

Brexit. It’s the most significant and widely discussed political occurrence currently in Britain, and possibly the world.

The idea of Great Britain leaving the European Union is monumental for Brits as well as the other nations it is leaving. But apart from the breaking news stories and the dialogue from politicians, how do England’s authentic citizens truly feel about the motion to leave?

During my time in London, I asked two random locals for their unadulterated opinion over a pint.

Borough: Soho

Bistro: Hix

Local: Barmen Alex

I pulled up a seat to the bar, and was immediately told it was last call. I ordered a drink and got straight to the point. “So what do you think about the brexit situation?”

Alex laughing: “Its crazy, but it’s not as much as a circus as Trump in the states.”

Me: “Who do you like more, Trump or Hillary?”

Alex: “You are screwed either way,” Alex said.

Me: “Agreed. what’d you vote for with Brexit?”

Alex: “I absolutely voted to stay. I travel around Europe all the time, that’s what makes living in London so great. A quick ride and you can be in a completely different country in a matter of hours, no hassle. Now I have no idea about what kind of visas I’ll be needing to move about.”

Borough: Temple

Bar: Walkabout

Local: Kelsey

Walkabout is an Australian chain bar that has various locations in London, specializing in showing sporting events from different countries including American football.

I went on a Sunday to watch the Giants and Cowboys play. I started talking to a girl, Kelsey, wearing Cowboy team apparel, asking if she was American.

Kelsey: “No, I’m just a huge American football fan. I’m actually studying global politics at King’s College and everything that’s going on with the election is amazing.”

Me: “What do you think?”

Kelsey: “I hope Trump wins. America has been on the economic down for quite a bit, you need someone with a business mentality to straighten it all up. And Hilary couldn’t even stand for 9/11. Really? Get the hell up, I don’t care how sick you think you are. That’s just flat-out disrespectful.”

Me: “Bet your happy with the Brexit turnout.”

Kelsey: “I definitely voted to leave. Being in the EU has been doing terrible things to small business. Long term, it’s a great decision. Countries in the EU could just set up shop anywhere in Britain and profit. Italy for example; these Italian fishermen would come in and take away fish from English waters and then go back to Italy and sell there. We are too lenient with that kind of stuff and we need to get stricter with borders.”


I was surprised to see how interested Brits were about American politics given the tumultuous political climate already occurring in Britain.

The first thing people wanted to discuss when they heard I was American was the election. U.K. media outlets are constantly covering American politics side to side with topics around Brexit. And even more surprising, a bunch of them love Trump.

The impact of the vote to leave the European Union still remains to be seen; many believe the action will make the United Kingdom a small and irrelevant country that disengaged from a European partnership, which in turn powered Britain’s economic and societal standing among the world.

The latter believe the long term effects of “declaring independence” from other nations will prevent a weakening of the UK’s economic prowess and make the borders more secure from potential dangerous threats.

The vote was split into two supporting themes: connectivity and independence. Both carry valid reasoning, and both choices largely divide the country.

The similarities between Brexit and America’s presidential election are striking. It will be compelling to see how everything pans out relevant to the UK leaving the EU; Will America choose a candidate who promises security and strengthening of borders, or a candidate who emphasizes openness and  unity?

Rafael Fontones

Featured on Temple’s Communications Study Abroad Tumblr Page



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