Without Googling It, VICE's EU Offices Describe What's Going On with Brexit

"From the bits that get through my filter, it sounds like we're all still fucked."

by Dipo Faloyin
20 February 2018, 12:34pm

Photo via Flickr user Rich Girard | CC By 2.0

You don't know what's happening with Brexit. Your parents don't know what's happening with Brexit. The government, whose entire purpose at this point in time is sorting out Brexit, do not know what's happening with Brexit.

Honestly, what a time to be alive. It's exhilarating to kick back and watch as the country blindly surfs a wave of patriotism towards a future that most experts predict will almost certainly leave a generation of young people even worse off than we already are. But in our excitement, we shouldn't forget to pour one out for our EU neighbours who are similarly affected, but with the added benefit of having to wait for the chaos to be translated into their language. Exhibit A: The Dutch government this week decided to go ahead with their own preparations for a "hard brexit" because of the "divisions within the British Conservative Party and the remaining lack of clarity".

To see just how bad things are, we set our friends in VICE offices across Europe a challenge: without googling it, tell us what you think the current state of Brexit is.

VICE Spain

"It's weird, because to me, like most Spanish people, the Brexit debate feels a lot like the Catalonian independence referendum. I was a political expert on it for a while – I read every piece on the subject and it was all my friends and I talked about when we went out. Now, though, I have no idea what's going on with Brexit.

"As far as I know, Britain is still part of the EU, but everyone in the UK is getting bored of talking about it. It seems to involve a massive amount of paperwork, with a strategy that centres around the whole thing taking so long, people either forget all about it or just assume at some point that Britain has left, even though it hasn't. Also, young Brits now hate old people, and vice versa, right? I think I read millennials are no longer giving up their seats to the elderly on buses or helping them with their shopping. But when an elderly person finds out they actually know one of the millions of young people knocking around, they suddenly feel bad about how they voted."

- Ana Iris Simón, Staff Writer

VICE Germany

"I stopped following Brexit when Nigel Farage handed in his resignation after successfully masterminding that populist brain fart. I just thought we reached all the peaks – peak funny, peak sad, peak weird. Since then, Brexit has felt like an upcoming Kid Rock album: you just sit there and hope it'll never happen because you know its effects will be devastatingly bad.

"From the bits that still get through my filter, it sounds like we're all still fucked. And it's too late to do anything about it. The central argument seems to be about who's going to be hurt more: the EU or the UK? Is Boris Johnson still campaigning for Brexit? Last time he made the news over here, he was having family issues – something about his dad hanging in a jungle with Z-list celebs? That reminds me, has anyone checked on David Cameron recently?"

- Tim Geyer, Senior Editor


VICE France

"Well, pro-Brexit supporters wanted to leave the EU to protect the UK's borders, get rid of European bureaucracy and its huge amount of red tape and, above all, save money. But it seems like it's taken everyone two years to realise that if you consider the £50 billion divorce bill, the UK won't be saving any money. And isn't there something about the Irish border being wide open, so you won’t be able to control your borders anyway?

"So all that’s really happened so far is that Theresa May is getting more depressed by the day, everyone has realised how scary Boris Johnson is and we'll all have to queue for a bit longer when we get to UK customs."

- Florence Willaert, Head of Content

VICE Sweden

"It's been almost two years and… nothing has happened? For the past 18 months, all anyone seems to have learned is that Morrissey is even more problematic than we already thought. Also, that Theresa May now thinks building a wall around the UK might not be such a bad idea after all, and she's probably asked her new BFF, Trump, whether Mexico can pay for it?

"It's times like these that you need your neighbours to help you out and get you back on solid ground. Perhaps as part of some sort of political and economic union..?! I’ve heard there's a tiny possibility Brexit won't happen, if enough powerful people say it won't. For your sake, I hope that's true."

- Ingrid Altino, Staff Writer



"I recently spent a week in London and tried to understand what was going on, but it seemed like my British friends were just as confused as I was. All I ever seem to hear from the UK is politician after politician vaguely declaring Brexit 'an opportunity' for the thousandth time in 18 months. It also sounds like you're still being told that all that Brexit money will be going to the NHS. I'm sorry to hear that.

"And I don’t mean to alarm you guys, but an Italian Sunday newspaper recently did a photo series on different world leaders and what their desks say about them. I’m sad to report that Theresa May's desk shows 'uncertainty'. Does that sound about right?"

- Elena Viale, Magazine Editor

VICE Greece

"I'm not ashamed to say I have no idea what's going on with Brexit, because how could I? I mean, not only do we have a few problems of our own to worry about, but the last time I tried to catch up on negotiations, I ended up watching an interview on Channel 4 where the presenter kept asking the same question to a British MP – whose name I can't remember, because all your MPs look the same – but all he did was dodge the question and say stuff like, 'We will do the best for the UK,' over and over again.

"Apart from that, it sounds like Theresa May wants to keep all the benefits, while avoiding the basic commitments to the principles of the EU, because Nigel Farage, your actual Prime Minister, told her to. As far as the EU is concerned, I think their only plan is to follow their time-honoured tradition of never solving a problem today that could be pushed to tomorrow. From here, it sounds like all this incompetence will mean Brexit won't happen. But until then, God help you."

- Thodoris Chondrogiannos, Staff Writer

VICE Austria

"Is Brexit even happening? Has Theresa May found a way out of her own personal Black Mirror episode where she lost to Jeremy Corbyn? Is Brexit the reason the Spice Girls recently met up again?

"Nobody in Austria knows the right answers, because we've decided to stop caring. For us, Great Britain turned into Little Britain the minute you voted to leave. We keep hearing about how people are angry that their vote to leave doesn't mean all Muslims will be immediately deported. And a few memes mocking the dropping pound keep popping up. Oh, there is one thing we did see on the news about Brexit quite recently, though: it was Theresa May giving a speech in German about how Great Britain was leaving the EU, but not Europe. Why she wasn’t speaking English, nobody knows. I guess we'll just have to wait until the next season of Britain to find out."

- Markus Lust, Editor