Question of the Day: How Would You Celebrate If Brexit Was Cancelled?
"Probably go out, get really drunk and cry."
Photos by the author
The latest in Brexit news, for those of you who can't keep up with the rapid pace of nothing happening: still, nothing is happening.
Today, Theresa May postponed the parliamentary vote on her deal because, she said, she knew she would lose "by a significant margin". In the questions that followed her statement, May was repeatedly asked about a second referendum – whether we should hold one to get some clarity on the situation, because the way her government handled it has been an absolute shambles. Despite the Prime Minister answering each question with some variation of the word "no", it hasn't stopped people on Twitter from getting very excited about the prospect of another vote.
In September, a poll revealed that – after two years of it becoming very clear what a terrible idea Brexit was – Remain would win by a considerable margin. Now, let us dream and imagine a world in which this was to happen: how would you celebrate?
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
VICE: How would you react if Brexit was cancelled?
Helen, 27: I'd be really happy if somehow the decision was overturned and we stayed in the EU. I mean, it would be a hell of a waste of money for everything we’ve put in so far, but I think in the long-term it would be a great result. We just need some good news. If Theresa May calls one more conference to say nothing, I'm going to lose my shit.
How would you celebrate the decision being overturned?
Probably go out and get really drunk, and cry.
What would be your reaction if Britain were to remain in the EU?
Elvio, 38: For me, I'd rather stay in the EU because I want to be able to travel freely to European countries and be [part of] a kind of "superstate", as we use the same laws and you can travel freely. I'd rather be in the EU than be separated; we don't know how the outcome will be. If we come out from the EU we'll probably be restricted to Europe, the pound will go down. There are so many uncertainties. Those politicians lied to people, and those who lied to us are now hiding in the background. We'd love if they could come out, but it's all lies. We don’t really know what's going to happen in the future.
Would you be in favour of a second referendum?
Well, I would love it to happen. But if it happens, the people who voted Brexit would come out... it's going to bring a lot of uncertainties and turmoil; we might see a riot. So it’s probably best to negotiate and see the way out of it: either stay, or be like the Swiss model.
How would you celebrate Britain staying in the EU?
I would be very excited – I think most people would be very excited as well, especially the EU people who live in this country. It's been a long marriage; [leaving] would bring pain to a lot of people.
VICE: How would you react if Brexit was cancelled?
Paul, 28: I'm Irish, and I've been living here for three-and-a-half years now, and I'm enjoying it so far. I moved here just before the Brexit vote. I voted to remain. If they decide to remain, I'd be very happy, because going home has become far more expensive because of the exchange rate.
How would you celebrate the good news?
Probably going somewhere in Europe.
What would be your reaction if, after all this, Britain ended up remaining in the EU?
Jenny, over 50: Oh yeah, I'm really in favour of that. I would be delighted, because I didn't want to leave in the first place. I voted remain and we should stick together.
Erin, over 40: I would be delighted, too – and then they can get back down to doing some real work. We've wasted two years; this has taken away from all the stuff that’s been going on that needs fixing.
How would you celebrate in the case of Britain staying in the EU?
Jenny: I would buy a bottle of champagne, a really good champagne. That would be a real cause for celebration.
Erin: I'd probably do the same and celebrate with you.
What would be your reaction if Britain ended up staying in the EU?
Richard, 27: I wouldn't be happy unless had a people's vote. I voted to leave. Now, knowing what I know, I would have changed my mind. But they already put it to the people, and that's exactly what they all said. We gave our vote. Basically, David Cameron shouldn't have done what he did, but he did, and I believe we should follow through [the outcome of the Brexit referendum]. But I don't mind having a people’s vote.
So if Britain did end up staying in the EU, would you celebrate or not?
I would now, but I still think you can't just [change the outcome] after the decision was made. I did vote to Leave, but I probably would have changed my mind – but I still don’t believe it's right [to remain in the EU without putting it to another vote].
What made you change your mind?
I didn't know what I was voting for. I didn't know, I didn't know. And two years on, you realise we would probably be better off staying in.
Are you not satisfied with the Brexit deal negotiated by Theresa May?
Yeah, I'm not satisfied, and I just genuinely thought we were going to be better off walking away. But I don't believe that to be true today. But at the same time, I still don't believe they can keep us in without doing a people’s vote.