As the United Kingdom prepares to vote on Thursday on whether to stay in the European Union, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver explained the fight over Brexit to the rest of the world on the June 19 episode of his HBO show.
“It’s hard for me to overstate to you how poisonous things have become in England,” the British comedian said. This is not news to those who live in the UK, where outspoken politicians and harsh ads have escalated to violence. Jo Cox, a member of Parliament who advocated for Britain remaining in the EU, was killed last week on her way to a meeting with constituents.
“In that cauldron,” Oliver said, “people are being asked to make a major political decision.”
The decision, he points out, is truly major. The UK may refuse to adopt the Euro, but it still relies heavily on the EU, exporting about 45% of its goods and services to other member countries.
One by one, Oliver refutes each argument for Britain leaving the EU, and he bolsters his point by offering several examples of blatantly racist comments by members of the UK Independence Party, which has pushed for a Brexit.
“So to recap, immigration policy may not change, hysteria over regulation is a red herring, the costs of membership are reasonable, and the economic benefits of staying appear to outweigh the costs,” Oliver says. “And yet, polls suggest, my homeland is on the edge of doing something absolutely insane.”