I’d like to humbly and respectfully submit the following Modest Proposal: Why don’t you join the United States of America, and become our fifty-first state?
I know, I know — about 52% of you are no doubt celebrating your newly-referendumed independence from the European Union. And the rest of the world financial markets are in turmoil (I think my portfolio was down about 4.67% today), since nobody expected that you’d do something so wacky as vote to leave that entity which is has maintained relative peace and relative prosperity in Europa for the past 60 or so years.
But before you spend all that time, money, and energy rewriting your laws, rules and regulations — just so you can have your own country back — I really think you should contemplate all the wonderful advantages of becoming part of the U.S. (I know this is all really obvious, but just in case…):
1). Currency. You can finally dump the British pound and use the U.S. dollar. After all, last time I checked, it took a mere $1.37 to buy a pound. When I was working in London in 2005, the exchange rate was around $1.80 to the pound. At this rate, you’ll be reaching one-to-one parity anyway, and London will be almost as affordable as San Francisco! So we can just simplify things and go to a single U.S. dollar currency. After all, I’m sure you’re all big fans of the patriot whose face is on the dollar. (I think his ancestors were British, too!)
2). Economic Inequality. The U.S. loves economic inequality, just like the U.K. does. Granted, you have been practising this since the Battle of Hastings in 1066. And your whole royalty / aristocracy thing is about keeping the landed and wealthy class in power. But we Americans are quick learners — and the powered, moneyed class in the U.S. (we like this cute term “The One Percent”) have learned to emulate the U.K’s two tiered socioeconomic approach. (We will, however, still reserve the right to call our public schools “public”, and our private schools “private”.) And don’t worry about all the homeless people here — we got used to it just a few years after Reagan took power.
3). A woman as leader. This November, you’ll have a chance to make history and elect a female leader for the entire country! Oh wait, you already did that 37 years ago, didn’t you? Well, anyway…
4). Congress. You’ll be able to participate in that icon of American participatory democracy — the United States Congress! I’m sure you’re delighted to no longer be taking orders from Brussels. But Washington D.C. is a lovely place to visit (lots of nice white marble everywhere, and Georgetown is even quainter than South Kensington or Notting Hill.) Even better, you’ll have a fresh opportunity to redraw your congressional district lines, to make sure the lower classes get gerrymandered out of having a voice in their government. True, when it comes to the U.S. Senate, you’ll have only two senators to represent all 65 million people from the U.K, but California’s 39 million citizens are used to getting screwed this way, and we’re still the best state!
5). Be cool. Being part of the U.S. is cool. Sure, there was that “Cool Britannia” stuff. And I find London a more tolerant place than anywhere in the U.S. But if Brits such as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have spent their lifetimes emulating Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Howlin’ Wolf — then I think that means the U.S. wins on coolness. (You gave the world Bowie. We gave the world Prince. I miss them both.)
6). Food. We Americans pride ourselves on our delicious, native cuisines — especially sushi, burritos, and dim sum. But out of cultural tolerance and for the sake of diversity, please keep the awesome food that I had in the West End in 2005: Pad Thai, Curry, and croissants from Pret a Manger.
7). Wine. Forget beer. We have really, really good wine. Sure, there’s amazing wine in EU satellite states such as France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Greece, and Hungary — but they never really compare to the wines we pump out in Napa and Sonoma Valleys, or even (I’m told) Washington or Oregon.
8). Sports. Here is an opportunity for true “disruption”, as we say in Silicon Valley. Formula One should be replaced by NASCAR. You can keep soccer, but you have to widen the goal posts so that your scores are more like baseball (5 to 3) or better yet — American football (35 to 21)! The NFL can finally set up a franchise in London and fill Wembley with a big-boy sport.
9). Island State. Hawaii started the trend…it was a lovely island. And now it’s a state! The UK is an island. And now it can be a state! (But we have to be careful, or else Puerto Rico, Guam, and the American Virgin Islands will start getting ideas, too.)
10). The Queen. Of course, you can keep her, and the rest of the royals, for that matter. After all, we want you to maintain your British heritage and identity.
Are you in?
; – )
Jim McCarthy never tries to write anything funny or satirical. He deeply loves and respects British culture and all the wonderful people he met in the UK during the summer of 2005. He sincerely wishes lots of happiness and success for everyone in the UK, and the EU, in coming years.