This Spice Girls Brexit Remix Is The Catchiest Way To Learn About British Politics
Last week's Brexit vote continues to wreak havoc on the United Kingdom's economy, but that's not the only victim. The leaders of both the governing Conservative Party and opposition Labour Party may be on their way out. That might seem like an insignificant detail when faced with a falling pound and stock market, but it's actually central to the Brexit vote in the first place — which makes this Spice Girls Brexit remix key to understanding British politics... believe it or not. Plus it's amazing.
If you also wanted to be Ginger Spice and rock the Union Jack platform heels in your youth, you might as well just skip ahead and watch the video. If not, hear me out. There's more to this YouTube gem than just '90s nostalgia. Just take a look at the lyrics, set to the beat of "Wannabe":
I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really wantSo tell me what you want, what you really, really wantI'll tell you what I want, what I really, really wantSo tell me what you want, what you really, really wantI wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna,I wanna really, really, really wanna be the prime minister.
Yes, you heard that right. The vote was not held because Britain's political elite wanted to "zig-a-zig-ah" out of the European Union. There was no benefit to Britain's economy, its people, or its stature in the world. It was all about becoming prime minister. The song ends: "Because if you want to be Prime Minister and lead the Conservatives, let me tell you this job is not easy. But that's the way it is."
And if you really want to understand the political message, you have to consider who they remixed to deliver them. The main politicians featured are the outgoing Conservative Party Leader, Prime Minister David Cameron, and former London Mayor Boris Johnson. They're joined by other Tory politicians, including former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, but Cameron and Johnson receive most of the screen time. And there's a reason why. Cameron called for the referendum in order to remain prime minister. And strengthening his own campaign for prime minister is also (probably) why Johnson campaigned for the leave camp.
First look at Cameron. He first suggested the European Union referendum back in 2013 to attract more right-wing voters to his center-right Tories in the 2015 general election. The Conservatives did, in fact, win and moved forward with a plan to renegotiate certain aspects of Britain's relationship with the EU to get better terms. Cameron did just that. He got the EU to acquiesce to some of his demands, and thus the Brexit vote was scheduled.
Then consider Boris Johnson. He outlined why he supported the out vote in The Telegraph in March. But consider how support for his leadership of the Tories grew after he announced he would support the leave campaign. In March he went from third place to first with a double-digit lead after he threw his weight behind Brexit. So, maybe he did have ulterior motives. As Lord David Blunkett, a former Home Secretary and peer of the Labour Party, wrote for the Daily Mail back in March, "Can this, I wonder, have anything to do with an anticipated vacancy at the top of his party in the next couple of years?"
Oh, yes, it can. And now here we are. Cameron has resigned, and Johnson is a top contender to be his replacement. Their two different attempts to lead Britain for the Conservatives have had very different results, but that was the goal of both. It backfired for Cameron but worked oh so well for Johnson. Meanwhile, Britain faces extreme economic and political uncertainty. Well done.
Now can someone please remix "Goodbye," because the In Campaign needs a melodramatic ballad to deal with their Brexit-induced Euro-feels.