The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Creators.


We’ve all had the experience of getting something we want and soon realizing that we really didn’t want it. Maybe it was the dress that looked so much better in the store than at home, the car that kept breaking down or the treadmill that was never trod. It’s called buyer’s remorse. In the modern age, we can usually return any item we find disappointing.

Could someone tell the Brits? In 2016, they voted to abandon the European Union, taking their bangers and mash and retreating to splendid isolation. But they have yet to decide how to do that. On Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May backed off from a pending vote on the deal she had reached with the EU. She then survived a no-confidence vote forced by rebels in her own party, but the future of Brexit remains murky.

A variety of impulses motivated the popular decision. Those who favored Brexit told the British people that they were sending huge sums of money to the EU. They said the nation was being overrun with unwanted immigrants. They portrayed the step as an overdue assertion of British sovereignty.

The vote reflected a generalized discontent with the status quo and the common impulse to tell the people in charge to get stuffed.As one of the politicians who campaigned for Brexit proclaimed, “People in this country have had enough of experts.”

But win they did, and May’s government has spent the past two years trying to reach terms that comply with the expressed will of the people without doing serious damage to the economy, disadvantaging British citizens living and working on the Continent, or giving up access to the huge European market.

In the end, though, the agreement she secured with the EU left just about everyone dissatisfied. The country would remain subject to EU rules but give up its old voice in shaping them. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke for many on the left and the right when he called the deal “the worst of both worlds. In the cause of ‘taking back control’ we lose the control we had.”

There is also the insoluble conflict between the desire to close Britain’s borders with the EU and the need to preserve unimpeded movement between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and Ireland, which is not — and which is a member of the EU.

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended the sectarian violence that had racked Northern Ireland for decades, largely dissolved the border, fostering commerce, travel and better relations between the two peoples.

The negotiations between Britain and the EU have exposed the full downside of Brexit. As The Economist editorialized, “May’s deal is in almost every respect worse than the carefully constructed one Britain already has, which gives it the benefits of being in the EU, while allowing it to opt out of the single currency, maintain its own passport checks and receive a large budget rebate.”

Neither the supporters nor the opponents of Brexit like it. But the alternative is to leave the EU without any deal, which could cause major disruptions in air travel, financial payments, goods shipments and other interactions between Britain and EU nations.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this excruciating dilemma: Let the people vote again. Now that they have contemplated the bleak reality the majority voted for, they would most likely leap at the chance to change their minds.

The British people are now in the position of the prisoner once cited by Winston Churchill “who languished for twenty years in a dungeon until one morning the idea struck him to push the door, which had been open all the time.” Having created the Brexit predicament, they also have a way to escape it.

Steve Chapman blogs at Follow him on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at




Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

MAGA Children's Books

The GOP descent into full-blown conspiracy and fascist hell has not gone unnoticed as of late. With the right-wing dominated Supreme Court poised to finally overturn Roe V Wade and 2022 races focusing on backing Republicans who support Trump's 2020 election lies, democracy and decency are all but dead and Democrats are going to have to turn out big in the midterms to prevent a GOP takeover over the House or Senate.

But while the focus of progressive ire has been over the GOP's assault on reproductive rights, Republicans have also been waging a war on facts and education quite well. After all, they need their voters nice and ignorant to remain in power. Book banning and, sickeningly, book burning is a thing for the GOP in the year 2022. The state of Tennessee, for example, is banning books. In fact, a psychotic trump zealot pastor led an actual book-burning event.

Keep reading... Show less

Pat McCrory

Youtube Screenshot

If former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is any indication, the GOP primary wounds wrought in the last several months stand a good chance of bleeding into the general election this fall.

McCrory, who lost his bid Tuesday to become the Republican nominee for the Tar Heel State's open Senate seat, declined to endorse his GOP rival, Rep. Ted Budd, the Trump endorsee.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}