Roger L. Simon

Brexit at Wimbledon

“Vat do you sink of zis Brexit,” said my Uber driver.

We were headed across South London to Wimbledon and at first I didn’t understand what he was saying because of his thick accent. I had tensed up the moment he picked up our small party near Notting Hill Gate. Call it profiling — he was Middle Eastern. So I had to query him to make sure he wasn’t on assignment from Raqqa and was going to take us anywhere but a tennis tournament.

But it turned out he was a Kurd. Kurds are heroes to me, have been for years, as they have been to many of us, except the creeps in our government who keep selling them out to even worse.

My driver was one of the good guys. Still, I was circumspect, asking him how he felt before I played my hand. He didn’t like this Brexit. Why not, I asked.

“I like to go to Europe in my car. Now I can’t go—have to get visa.”

I told him to relax. Chances are the French, if I knew anything about them, weren’t going to make it difficult for people living in England to spend their money in Provence. The driver laughed.  We had bonded and he made sure we got to Wimbledon quickly, so I could pick up my precious tickets, worth their weight in gold and miraculously arranged for me by a family connection.

I ended up sitting by myself, but in a very good seat in Centre Court. In front of me, Kei Nishikori, number six in the world and one of my favorite players, was already warming up for his match on that impossibly deep green lawn. I took a draw on my Pimm’s Cup. For a moment, I thought I had died and gone to tennis heaven.

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The man next to me struck up a conversation. He was from the Midlands, but moved to London years ago. He had spent time in Carmel and we talked about that for a moment, when he too asked what I thought of the Brexit. I hesitated. After all, I would have to sit next to the guy for the Nishikori match and then the Murray match to follow, as much as five hours altogether, maybe more if they went five sets.

So I gave an equivocal reply. It seemed overrated. The stock markets were already up again — after only a few days. The guy nodded in eager agreement. If the markets weren’t freaking out, why should anybody?  He was apparently a Leaver. We could relax and enjoy the tennis, turning our minds to more significant matters, like could Murray possibly beat Djokovic for the championship? He doubted it.

At the end of the tennis, our party chose the tube over the pricey cab line. On the way into the station, they were distributing the Evening Standard, now a giveaway. The front pages blasted a last-minute bloodbath in the Conservative Party.  Boris Johnson, the savior of the Leave campaign, was out, just as he was about to announce for prime minister. Michael Gove—Johnson’s putative campaign manager and longtime ally–was in.

The reason was a column Johnson had written for the Daily Telegraph, appearing to walk back on the Brexit, softening demands on immigration before negotiations with the EU had even started. I had been taken aback when I read the article myself the day before, so I was not entirely surprised at how the ax had come down on Johnson—but I was astonished by how swift it was.

It was all a reminder of how things are never as they seem. And to never completely trust a politician, English, American or whatever (as if we need to be told that).

The British, however, for the nonce were trusting Andy Murray. In a display of truly intimidating tennis, the crowd roared its approval as the Scotsman trounced Taiwan’s Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3, 6-2,  6-1.  Maybe he could defeat Djokovic and dash the Serb’s dreams of the never-before-achieved Golden Slam (winning all four Slams and the Olympics in one year). I wasn’t so sure.

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Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His next book—I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already—just published by Encounter Books June 14, 2016.  You can read an excerpt here. You can see a brief interview about the book with the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal here. You can hear an interview about the book with Mark Levin here. You can order the book here.

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