Benedict Cumberbatch ‘respects the reasons’ why people voted for Brexit


Benedict Cumberbatch appeared on the Graham Norton Show this weekend. Britishers already saw the episode, although BBC America staggers the airings so we won’t get to see it here in the US until next weekend. Thankfully, the whole episode already popped up on YouTube! Cumberbatch shared the couch with Eddie Redmayne, Bryan Cranston and then LeAnn Rimes was the musical guest. I have to confess something: LeAnn’s brief time on the couch didn’t bother me at all. Benedict was sort of fine too. Eddie was charming – especially during the magic show – and Cranston talked a little bit too much. Here’s the episode. Ah, they took it down, but here’s a clip:

Thankfully, nobody made news on the show and the only cringing I did was over the length of some of Cranston’s stories (I like him a lot, but he seemed a bit wired). As for Benedict, thankfully we do have some actual news about him. Some quotes! Here are some highlights from two new(ish) Bendy interviews:

Becoming a parent: “It adds – it never takes away. Lots of people, especially women, get told, ‘Oh you know, it’s going to really affect your career’, and it does, but for the better in most cases that I know. I am in a very privileged position in my career but I think everyone – even if they’re in a challenging time in their life – draws strength from their children. They’re inspirations rather than hindrances.”

He no longer wants to discuss posh-bashing: Back in 2012, Cumberbatch told Radio Times he was so sick of “posh bashing” that he was considering quitting Britain and moving to America. But today his comment on the issue of class is simply that it is “a conversation” he doesn’t want to get “involved with”.

His ‘f—k the politicians’ speech: He also speaks of his “deep regret” in having been “very rude about politicians” during the times he had taken to the stage after the curtain call of Hamlet to raise money for Syrian refugees, and criticised MPs for their response to the crisis. “I’m not in power and I’ve very much learnt my lesson on that front. But what I can do is try to ask people in power if they could consider it important enough to take action on.” To this end, he says, he is in conversation with Unicef about the possibility of becoming one of its ambassadors. “Listen, if I’m going to be criticised for something, I might as well be criticised for trying to help.”

His purpose is his family: “I have a family which gives me a purpose that is greater than me and more important than me beyond my work and my public life…. Everyone says it goes by so quickly and as a new parent you really experience that, especially if you’ve been away for 10 days [the Marvel promotional schedule has taken him on a world tour]. But it’s about enjoying every moment you have, when you have it.”

What it means to be British: “It’s an ever changing thing now isn’t it? I can tell you what it means for me. It means a pride in a form of belonging to a culture and history that is varied, chequered, wonderful, awful, just everything it should be. For me it’s very much a sense of place, a sense of home, London in particular, but also Manchester [where he went to university], parts of Scotland. For me it’s a sense of belonging. But it’s ever evolving. And obviously post everything that happened in the summer it is seriously evolving.”

Whether he’s worried about Brexit: “I’ve quite a strong faith that we’ve already made do so often. Everyone doesn’t know what’s going to happen so worrying is a kind of waste of energy.” He voted for Remain but “I thoroughly respect the reasons why people voted to leave. To me the most despairing thing is that what it showed was the massive under-privilege in our society, the problems of zero hours contracts, industrial towns that have been left to decay for decades. People voted for a change to their circumstances and their incomes and their job security and their healthcare that demagogues were offering an answer to, and they’re not going to get what they want. And we need to tackle those problems. As a culture we’re all aware of that now. There’s no hiding it, these things have been voiced and heard.”

[From The Telegraph & the Belfast Telegraph]

I’m actually sort of shocked that Benedict sounds so diplomatic about Brexit. Considering his politics – posh liberal/progressive, one would assume – it’s interesting to me that he acknowledges that pro-Brexit voters had legit complaints. Although he basically says that the pro-Brexit politicians lied to people, which checks out.

As for what he says about how having a kid hasn’t affected his career negatively – while he uses the word “privilege,” it’s sort of clear that he hasn’t actually given it much thought, which is that he’s in a completely different position than an actress who has a baby in her 30s and finds herself receiving fewer and fewer scripts.


Photos courtesy of WENN, Pacific Coast News.

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77 Responses to “Benedict Cumberbatch ‘respects the reasons’ why people voted for Brexit”

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  1. Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

    He does still love to speechify!!!

    These valid complaints were not just from the pro-Brexits voters, everyone can see that its a problem (zero hours contracts are draconian and should be banned) and for whats it worth many of these industrial towns that were left to decay were being revitalised with funding from the EU (the Welsh mining communities in particular). When these communities voted to leave the sealed their own fate as the UK gov doesn’t have the money to fund it. So very sad.

  2. t.fanty says:

    Cumby’s really embracing his inner Tory, huh?

    • Sixer says:

      Haha. Actually, I don’t think he is. I do think he is running in fear for his life from the press, however. I don’t know if you’ve seen the absolute shite Lily Allen and Gary Lineker have received for daring to offer a whit of public sympathy for refugees?

      I think we can call it embracing his inner coward.

      • Mila says:

        Because they just say things to stay relevant. Lily’s last hit song was ages ago, she always seems to be drunk and high, not to mention that she’s from privileged background. She is clueless.
        There is small amount of famous people who are in touch with reality. The Boss always comes to mind. Lenny Kravitz is another great example of someone who is not loud, but believes in peace and equality.

    • KasySwee says:

      He has always struck me as very, very conservative, TBH,

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      I don’t think he ever was a Labour voter? Yes he voted Remain but it doesn’t mean much, my husband’s family is all Tory and they voted Remain too.

      • Anne says:

        Only affiliation he’s ever seemed to have was Labour, and he’s always been labeled as a “leftie” by the Tory press.

        I don’t think this will stop the press from going after him. I saw another interview where he said he stands by what he did but wished he’d gone about it better, which is what I think he means here. I don’t necessarily disagree.

  3. KasySwee says:

    Oh, so he has fam who voted for Brexit and he wants to have a calm Xmas. Got it. He’s rich so Brexit isn’t going to hurt him like it will to vulnerable, and so he can sit on his cowardly a** and say cowardly things to save face with the fam or whomever. Yes, of course Brexit voters have legit complaints. Yes, of course the Brexit politicians lied. Also, Brexit politicians completely exploited the fact that most Brexit voters cannot separate their legit complaints from their racism and xenophobia that has been culturally conditioned from centuries of very racist British imperialism, from which the UK has drawn much of its global standing up until they voted for Brexit, and now Brits have to look at their very racist soul without the blinders their previously Safe European Home allowed them to wear. The tweets I have been reading since the vote would be funny in a I Told You So way if it weren’t for the fact that it really is very, very bad and May’s cabinet is a bleeping nightmare of Tory-entrenched incompetence. I have supported Scottish independence all along, and now more than ever–they voted overwhelmingly to stay and their votes ought to be honored. And despite the mix of voters in Wales and N. Ireland, people are sorting it out and realizing what a bad idea it is–and how horrible May and her cabinet are–and so I hope Wales and N. Ireland get out too.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      I agree with your sentiments.

    • Lalia says:

      you are out of line calling an ENTIRE country racist Lady – take a seat …

      • AG-UK says:

        @Laila +1
        I am black/American living in London since 2000 and I agree with you. I haven’t had any real issues that I can think of in my 16 1/2 years here. I am not a citizen so couldn’t vote but would have voted to Remain. Def won’t fork out £1500 for naturalization now. All I know is those that have I hope it’s all that they have envisioned. I have friends who have stopped talking because they can’t seem to brush it under the friendship carpet..

    • Tina says:

      It is a big stretch to say that “most” Brexit voters cannot separate the legitimate complaints from xenophobia. Some, certainly, but decidedly not most. I think it is the other way around – the US media, in particular, ignores the legitimate reasons why people voted for Brexit and focuses on the xenophobia of some. I understand why (the Trump parallels) but it’s not helpful and ignores the legitimate reasons.

      To take another one of your statements, Scotland may vote to separate but then again they may not, they’re not very fond of the fact that they would have to join the back of the EU queue, will have to adopt the euro and would lose all the present advantages such as the rebate. There are a host of historical issues with Northern Ireland meaning that they don’t actually want to leave the U.K. And Wales voted to Leave the EU. I think Cumberbatch was absolutely right in what he said.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        “Scotland may vote to separate but then again they may not, they’re not very fond of the fact that they would have to join the back of the EU queue,”

        You might be correct with the rest but the above mentioned part is a bit of contradiction. Not happy to join the end of the queue when they would leave the EU anyway in 2 years?

        Re: legitimate complaints should have nothing to do with EU or xenophobia at all. If anyone who voted Leave thought that their plight was tied with EU/foreigners, they have been sold a turd, there’s no other explanation. I live in a high-percentage Leave area and all the problems have stemmed from the wild cuts decided by the Tory governments. Besides, there aren’t even immigrants up here, I’m genuinely one of the few and I wouldn’t even live here if my British husband didn’t have a job in the county.

      • Sixer says:

        I think the problem is what the Americans call white fragility, to be frank. I think we now have a Brexit fragility. It’s becoming clear that much of what people voted for was a pig in a poke and, rather than face that fact, the shrill voices are attempting to dominate the conversation and are drowning out all the other voices.

        I think this is particularly apparent in the pro-Brexit and anti-immigration press, who don’t want their readers to notice the house of cards collapsing.

        Look at this, Tina. It’s about my neck of the woods and I think it says it all, really.

      • Tina says:

        @Silverunicorn, I mean that they would have to wait to rejoin, behind Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. People think they can just seamlessly stay in on present terms, and that won’t be the case.

        And Sixer, I agree that the people bought a pig in a poke, but they don’t seem to be regretting it, according to the polls. If the drop in the pound hasn’t made them see reality, I don’t know what will.

      • SilverUnicorn says:


        Sorry, I had misinterpreted that part!

        Thanks for posting that. However I agree with Tina that many people don’t seem to regret it, at least not openly.
        I don’t know what’s the mood in the midlands or in the south, but here it’s a grim one. I’ve not seen anyone smiling or saying hello in months, not even my neighbours. It’s like there’s a collective annoyance at everything and everyone. Leave side supposedly won but it’s become clearer that what they won is not what they were expecting.
        Did you see Hunt’s and Green’s new strategy for DWP re-organisation?

      • Sixer says:

        Tina – I feel like what we are seeing is bravado. Obviously not in all cases. We have the uncomfortable situation where all the racists and xenophobes feel emboldened and are shouting everyone else down. We have others in denial who are also shouting everyone else down. And then we have the actual principled Brexiteers who do think it’s short term pain for long term gain – but they are being quiet!

        That said, Liam Fox is delusional and an outright danger to the nation.

        Silver – here in the back end of beyond it’s like nothing has happened at all, in truth. I notice the difference mainly on social media, where it seems as though all the arses are shouting loudly and all the nice people have gone away because they can’t make themselves heard.

      • Tina says:

        @Sixer, I don’t disagree with anything you say here. My only objection is to this idea that, at its extreme, that there were no legitimate reasons to vote for Brexit and that everyone who voted for it did so due to racist/xenophobic reasons. And even the slightly less extreme version, where people say that one can’t possibly have voted for Brexit without on some level believing in the racist/xenophobic reasons.

        Even for Trump, there are legitimate reasons to vote for him. If you are a single issue pro-life voter and all you care about is the Supreme Court, the chances that Trump will appoint conservative judges are greater than those that Hillary will appoint them, whatever else happens.

        Now, Trump is such an insane megalomaniac that I have no sympathy for those people. But as bad as Liam Fox (and Davis, and Boris, and Farage) are, I do believe that there are millions of people out there who voted for Brexit because they believe it will make their lives better and they do think it is a short term pain for long term gain situation. I think they’re wrong. But I don’t think they’re all, or even the majority of them, are racist.

      • spidey says:

        One of the reason why the “principled brexiters” are keeping quiet is that they are sick and fed of being shouted down, demonised and insulted by a number of remainers who think that nobody is allowed to have a differing opinions from their own or that those brexiters might feel it is for the long term good if the country.

    • Sasha says:

      I think he publicly spoke up for staying in the EU and for support of refugees before the Brexit vote. And he got absolutely crucified for it, as being out of touch. Including this website.
      So , I guess, now he doesn’t want to be the lightning rod again. He is an actor, not a politician. I am not sure why people react to his opinions so strongly.

    • Robin says:

      So the only reasons most Brexit voters voted to leave were their racism and xenophobia, and the whole country is racist? That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        The majority of Leave voters were indeed voting out because of immigration. This is not being pedantic, stats and several commenters have confirmed that.

        Having said that, I’ve recently found out that many who voted Remain did so for economic reasons but it came out they are far from tolerant in terms of immigration.

      • jc126 says:

        Having concerns about immigration (to any country) does not automatically equal racism, as much as some people seem to think.

  4. dodgy says:

    What’s so annoying about Brexit is that May and the other Brexiters in private have expressed the desire that the EU is the way forward, but they are succumbing to the rabid right wingers of the Tory party (and UKIP) who seem to think that leaving the EU would make it be Victorianna again, not realising that the sun set on the British Empire years ago.

    It’s bad enough that the Jewish descendants of those who came to Britain to escape the Third Riech in World War II are applying for German passports now.

    Everything is a mess.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      “It’s bad enough that the Jewish descendants of those who came to Britain to escape the Third Riech in World War II are applying for German passports now.”

      I read that this morning, it left me speechless. It speaks volumes about the general feeling in UK at the moment.

    • QueenB says:

      i think germany changed quite a bit since then.

      it also is a simple and fast way to retain a EU passport as descendants are entitled to a german citizenship. most wont move to germany.

      • SilverUnicorn says:


        What you’re saying makes no sense. Surely it doesn’t mean they will move to Germany, but why would a British citizen apply for a European passport if not to retain the freedom to move to or work in the EU?
        Brexit doesn’t apply to holidays or travelling arrangements, having a British passport is enough to travel anywhere in the world.

    • Tina says:

      I have a friend whose entire family is going down this route. For him and his family, they have no present plans to move to Germany or anywhere else in the EU, but want to retain the flexibility to do so. He said that it was a very Jewish attitude, the acknowledgement that things can always change and flexibility is a good thing to have, even if it’s never acted upon.

      • Robin says:

        Huh. So when you look into the “some Jewish people are applying for German passports” story, it’s not nearly as scary as the scaremongers make it out to be, then?

      • Sixer says:

        I concur. No Jewish connection here, but the Sixlets are eligible for dual citizenship (Ireland). I think this will expand their options post-Brexit so will probably pursue it, whether they end up using those options or not.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        That has nothing to do with scaremongers. It’s only 400 people. It’s relevant because of the Jewish/German connection.

        My husband is going through the process to get my citizenship because so he will retain the freedom of moving or working elsewhere in Europe, not because we want to go back to my original country. I left it for many, many reasons, if I move from UK I’m not surely going back and neither is my husband.

  5. bread says:

    “It adds – it never takes away. Lots of people, especially women, get told, ‘Oh you know, it’s going to really affect your career’, and it does, but for the better in most cases that I know.”

    For somebody with a reputation for being clever, he really does say some rather stupid things.

    Yes, I’m sure it didn’t affect your career, Cumberbatch, because you didn’t have to carry the child for nine months, your body didn’t change during or after the pregnancy, you didn’t have to have your breasts available for somebody else’s consumption for more than 6 months after the birth, and you have a stay-at-home wife to take care of the kid while you travel around the world giving boring interviews about yet another superhero movie.
    So, you already have it a hell of a lot better than most working actresses.

    • Radley says:

      I have yet to see him speak of his wife and kid with anything other than feigned affection. He seems very detached. I dunno, he seems like a stereotypical stiff upper lip Brit. But maybe there’s more to it than that. I’m side-eyeing for sure.

      • Sue says:

        @bread and @Radley — Well said. No matter how long he lives and what he goes through, he never seems to learn enough to understand his privilege, and I don’t think he wants to. He understands enough to appreciate what he has, such as his schooling and his luck, but he seems to entirely lack any more developed realization of his position. His social commentary always sounds like it comes from an attitude of noblesse oblige. I agree with those who consider him very conservative; I don’t think he is politically conservative, but I think he’s heavily invested in tradition and sees the world from the POV of a member of the white patriarchy.

        And I agree about his bizarre pronouncements on his family. It’s as though he’s only playing the role of husband and father; from what he says, it’s impossible to imagine that he really feels close to Sophie and the child or that they have an intimate home life together. I’m not saying that we’re *entitled* to know about it, but from what he offers about it, it doesn’t sound as though real emotion is involved at all. I’m sure that’s why some people theorize that the marriage and baby are fake, although I do not subscribe to that theory and consider it outlandish.

    • Cee says:

      Keira Knightly has a new interview in Harper’s Bazar where she beautifully explains why men need paternity leave – so that women can have more working rights. Childcare is expensive so many women stay at home and give up their careers (and a second family income!) and men have no chance of helping. It also affects the hiring of women vs men.

      He really talks from his own experience but he often sounds so out of touch.

  6. ell says:

    everytime he speaks i wish he would shut up. i will never get americans’ fascination with these posh, disconnected with reality, white blokes. ugh.

  7. SilverUnicorn says:

    “Everyone doesn’t know what’s going to happen so worrying is a kind of waste of energy.”

    Hmm. If I was British and had Cumby’s money and status, I wouldn’t worry either. However, not having any of that, I’ve been constantly worried for the last 4 months, to the point that worry is nearly killing my marriage and me.
    Sorry but for the life of me, with all my goodwill I cannot even fathom why anyone in Britain hates me so much that they liked the idea of seeing me suffer this way (I’m a EU citizen).

    • spidey says:

      People in Britain do not hate you. As you will gather, I voted out but I have no hatred towards you whatsoever.

      Not much help I know, but the people around me don’t hate you either.

  8. lexx says:

    ” industrial towns that have been left to decay for decades”

    this sounds a lot like what’s going on the US, wrt coal mining towns and people living in rural areas. As much as D Trump is an idiot and a narcissist, that’s a demo that democrats have routinely ignored. So when DT seemed to address their issues, I understood why they connected with him.

    • Sixer says:

      There are many parallels. And what KasySwee says about the inability to separate legitimate concerns from internalised xenophobia (Britain) and a belief in exceptionalism (the US) feeds the whole thing.

    • Algernon says:

      These are real issues. There is legitimate anxiety and fear in those areas because they have been left behind as the rest of the country has progressed on almost every front. However, I disagree that Democrats have ignored them entirely. Dems definitely focus more on urban concerns, but it’s a bit of a snake eating its tail problem, because when Dems do try to bring initiatives to rural America, they almost universally get shot down (like the ACA, which would demonstrably help impoverished rural citizens but states that are mostly rural, which is mostly the south + Wyoming/Montana, have been among the worst in ACA participation because the state governments won’t get on board with a Democrat social program, even though those governors *know* the ACA would help their people). So they limit the resources they spend there, because they know it’s a waste, and that population is dwindling anyway. In the next few years, Georgia and probably Texas will shift to blue states because all the voting power will be in Atlanta/Austin. They focus on the cities because that’s where people are going. That doesn’t help the people who stick around in the rural areas, and we should be having more honest and engaged conversations about how to help those citizens, but the Democrats don’t ignore them. They largely ignore Democrat offers of help.

      • Lightpurple says:

        Texas will likely see a seismic shift after the next census in 2020 when they have to redraw congressional districts with the recent SC ruling striking down the gerrymandering procedures used after the last two censuses.

        As for your point about the ACA, so true. I watched two acquaintances on Facebook the other day screaming about Obama and Hillary and premiums being increased and then going ballistic when someone pointed out that the increases weren’t uniform nationally but tended to be higher in those states that did not fully embrace the ACA AND did not have their own strong regulations on health insurance in place.

      • Robin says:

        Yes, Dems focus on urban concerns, which is part of the reason that cities that have been run by Dems for decades (Detroit is the best example, Milwaukee is in there too) are doing so poorly.

      • Algernon says:

        I’m not saying Democrats are perfect, because they aren’t, but the #1 reason Detroit and Milwaukee are suffering right now is because heavy manufacturing is dead and there is not yet a large enough industry to replace it. All of these problems come back to automation and the resulting industry shrink it pushes. This is a huge problem which so far, neither side has been able to adequately address.

      • The Bad Mood Kanye says:

        I couldn’t have said it better– you’re spot-on. I live in Atlanta (which has been run by Democrats for decades), and Atlanta is thriving in growth and opportunity. In the last 10 years, the metro Atlanta population grew by 1 million people, bringing our current metro population to 5.7 million, and it’s projected to grow by an additional 2.5 million people by 2040.

        However, the rest of the state of Georgia (run by a Republican state legislature and governor) is what we call “the other Georgia,” where you’ll find crumbling economies, high unemployment, low wages, etc. These areas still haven’t come close to returning to pre-2008 economic levels, and much of the blame lies with a gutting 2012 tax cut bill the GOP state legislature passed and the GOP governor signed.

        The people in “the other Georgia” continue to vote for elected officials and policies that are counter to their own interests and future viability, but they cast votes that cling to an ideology that wishes for the return of “the ways things used to be,” including separate water fountains.

        I grew up in Kentucky- where Eastern Kentucky was built entirely on coal mining (two decades ago, coal mines employed over 90% of Eastern Kentucky’s workforce), and now, that same industry is hemorraging jobs at a drastic pace. In 2011, there were 14,000 coal mining jobs in Eastern Ky. In 2016, there are now less than 4,000 coal mining jobs in that same area. A lot of those towns have lost 40-50% of their workforces

        Coal is woven into the fabric of life there. They’ve been so dependent for so long on one particular industry, and they’ve built their lives on that industry. And it’s served them well for quite a long time, and then it started declining. As an unsustainable resource, the coal is nearly gone. The coal isn’t coming back. Those jobs aren’t coming back. Many people have already fled the region in search of work, and in a close-knit area where families go back generations, the outflow of people rips a big hole in the social fabric.

        People are angry at their circumstances and scared of the change, uncertain of what that means for them. They look at the changes not as an inevitable economic cycle, but as a consequence of a new, different (more diverse) America that seeks to punish them. It’s sad.

  9. Radley says:

    I totally get what he’s saying. Like, I get why some Trump supporters feel anxious and left behind, but they’ve hitched their wagon to the absolute wrong star. I think “respect” was the wrong word to use. Because just like everybody else who’s able to think and evaluate, they had all the information they needed to make the right choice. It’s a fail. And now they will reap what they’ve sown. And often life works like that. Surprise, surprise.

    I know some people have had hard knocks in life. I know personally. I grew up poor and fatherless to a blue collar mom and have worked my ass off to achieve upper middle class status. But ffs, looking to blame everyone else while not evaluating what you CAN and NEED to do for yourself is terrible. Yes, the government is accountable, but so are YOU.

    I feel like many Brexit voters, like many Trump supporters think being white is supposed to guarantee them certain things and if they don’t get them then it must be a vast left wing connspiracy. White privilege is becoming less and less of a thing (although it very much still is). I think people don’t want a level playing field and therefore are voting to keep their foot on certain other people’s neck. But they cut off their nose to spite their face and I have no sympathy.

    • Algernon says:

      I think the word everyone is looking for is “understand.” I understand why some people support Trump/Brexit (which share a lot of common populist appeal, in my mind), but I don’t respect it. I think if you’re any kind of compassionate person, you should see the snake oil being sold to you for what is, which is basic fear-mongering and scapegoating to distract from the real problem, which is that heavy industry and manufacturing is going the way of the dodo and it isn’t because of immigrants, it’s because of automation. At this point, robots have taken more jobs than free trade and immigration. Those industry town will never come back based on industry or manufacturing. If they’re going to be revitalized, it will be through wholly new means we’re barely just beginning to understand (we’re at the very start of the on demand/techno economy). But that’s a much more nuanced conversation with a much more difficult truth to wrangle (“your job is gone and it is never coming back, make friends with your computer because that is your future”) than just saying, “That brown guy over there is the source of all your problems.”

      • Sixer says:

        And that’s going to require solutions along the lines of a MIG or a basic income. I imagine that would be much harder to implement stateside because a) less history of comprehensive social security systems and b) state rights?

      • Algernon says:

        Basic income is both inevitable and a nightmare. In the US, our entire identity is founded on work, so it’s going to be very hard to sell it to people who tie their entire self-worth to their work (which is part of why it’s so hard to get the people who keep hoping manufacturing/industry jobs will come back to understand that they won’t come back and they need to find something else to do in Coal Town, USA. They’ve been miners/factory workers for generations, but that’s over and they can’t shift gears). State’s rights will also come into play, at first as resisttance but ultimately to set the universal basic income for each state separately. Someone living in Wyoming won’t need as a high a UBI as someone in California, for instance.

        The one ray I hope I have for UBI not being an American melt down that will make Trump look like child’s play is that UBI has unexpected support among conservatives, who see it as an alternate to welfare. The best UBI proposal I’ve heard actually comes from a conservative policital scientist who proposes UBI as a replacement for welfare, and the argument is fairly sound. With UBI, you don’t really need welfare, anyway, and it works out to being cheaper, and it eliminates the need for stuff like SNAP (food stamps). I think it will be a nasty fight anyway, but there is some conservative support for it already.

      • Sixer says:

        I’m in favour of MIG or UBI in principle but there’s also a great deal of evolution required (even here in the UK, where we do have a more comprehensive cash transfer social security system, despite the latest cuts) before it’s feasible.

        But it’s going to be necessary in a world of automation and gig economies. We need to start thinking about it now.

      • Algernon says:

        We do need to start thinking about it now. What we have going for us in the US is that welfare is a mess and pretty much everyone agrees it needs to be overhauled. UBI is a good way to start that discussion. Oddly, a good example of what that future looks like is the movie Her, where there seems to be a relatively uniform standard of living (evidence everyone is starting from the same baseline), and everyone’s jobs are what we would call unnecessary today. Also that movie contains evidence that people have ample free time, another side effect of a UBI-based economy.

      • Sasha says:

        In a country where people can’t even accept the need for a maternity leave for working women, UBI is not even a pipe dream, it doesn’t even qualify as a speck of a dream. UBI in the US can only happen if there is some kind of major economic catastrophe which shakes the society to the core.

      • Algernon says:

        @ Sasha

        It’s going to be a tough sell, but I think we can do it without (another) economic catastrophe because everyone knows this is where it’s headed. And with my generation (Millennials) coming into our voting power over the next 10-20 years, I don’t think it will be quite as hard a sell. Boomers will largely be out of the work force (death/retirement), which is the biggest hurdle. They’re way more work obsessed than Millennials. I think we’re about to see massive industry shifts as automation comes to industries like freight/delivery and driving, and it will become apparent that this is the next step. I hope it doesn’t go as far as outright economic catastrophe, but I think we’re in for a hiccup as millions of truckers/drivers either lose their jobs or see their work change dramatically.

    • Kimberly says:

      Totally agree with your comment.

    • seesittellsit says:

      And I think what most BREXIT voters understood is that EU membership wasn’t doing a damned thing for them. As it happens, according to recent surveys done by Pew across the bloc, dissatisfaction with the EU is higher in France than in England. It’s not just about ethnic or other slants – the truth is, the EU has quite a few problems, and it ignored those problems and played a game of chicken with England that it never expected to lose. Now, it goes around acknowledging that yes, maybe it’s been a tad out of touch. Disfavor of the EU is rising across the bloc.

      It’s not as if these concerns were solely those of Britain’s white working-class, or its working-class as a whole. Not every working-class person in Britain is white. The entire northeast voted OUT. London voted IN.

      There has always been a divide between London and the rest of the country, but at this point London might as well be its own City-State, like the Vatican.

      To me, this is half a century of chickens coming home to roost, in Europe as much as in the US, and of stupid governments refusing to plan in anything but electoral cycles. Many people in economics and socio-economics warned about this stuff coming down the pike. Instead of heeding the warnings, they let the banksters off the hook, increased inequality, gave the alt right a leg up, let health care and education and housing get worse and worse . . .

      What did they think someone in Middlesborough was going to do looking around whilst the IMF, the CBI, the Eton boys in Whitehall, and the eurocrats in the EU scolded them about how lucky they were to be in the EU?

      Does any government, anywhere, ever look beyond the next election?

      I don’t think Trump has a shot, really. My real concern is, though, that given how much closer he came than he should have, will Clinton and Congress hear a message and respond to it? Or will they go back to business as usual with a sigh of relief and just defer the implosion?

      • Sasha says:

        “To me, this is half a century of chickens coming home to roost, in Europe as much as in the US, and of stupid governments refusing to plan in anything but electoral cycles.”

        Exactly. Both the UK and the US politicians seem to operate on the premise of “Apres nous le deluge”.

      • Sixer says:

        Excellent comment.

        I think Hillary will defer the implosion, which is my general objection to her candidacy – not that it’s really any of my business! – rather than all this email and foundation nonsense. It’s the same objection I have to the Old Guard of the Labour party in the UK. Things are changing faster than the people who are running things are changing. We need a new centre position and economic consensus to build. And polarising elections/referendums don’t get us anywhere closer to that.

      • lightpurple says:

        Well, if they go back to business as usual, they won’t be conducting any business as all just as they have not conducted any business for the past eight years.

        I wrote a letter months ago to Ted Cruz (ew!) concerning my objections to his stance on the Affordable Care Act, all very carefully spelled out as I have legal expertise in the particular issues raised. To summarize, I pretty much explained that if he had his way, I would lose insurance coverage, quickly go bankrupt with health care costs, and probably die or at least experience disabling conditions. Today, I finally received a response in which he bragged about his plans to do exactly what I pointed out would be so very harmful to me and millions of others with pre-existing conditions. I pay for his health care; he wants me to go without and he and his staff don’t care to learn the facts.

        Meanwhile, Senator Ayotte of NH is running TV and radio ads in MA claiming her opponent Governor Hassan has made cuts to Medicare in NH. There is no possible way Governor Hassan could make Medicare cuts. Medicaid cuts, maybe, but not Medicare cuts. It infuriates me that a sitting Senator is too stupid to know the difference between two federal programs and believes that her constituents and those of us in other states who she chooses to blasts with her propaganda don’t know the difference either.

  10. Lightpurple says:

    Today’s Haiku

    Kid affects career
    Posh bashing, don’t involve me
    Brexit, respect it

  11. Ms. Turtle says:

    “It adds – it never takes away. Lots of people, especially women, get told, ‘Oh you know, it’s going to really affect your career’, and it does, but for the better in most cases that I know.”

    Is he for real? I think my eyes just rolled right out of my head. What do you think the response of his wife (whose name IDK, forgive me) would be to that load of $h!t.

    • squeezeo'lime says:

      It probably wouldn’t be that different, she’s a trust fund kid who never worked a day in her life and piggybacked her way into the art scene.

    • seesittellsit says:

      +1,000. He’s clearly not heard about the Mommy Track. He meant, of course, an artsy-fartsy career in which there aren’t any worries about who is picking up the tab for lost income, or maternity/paternity leave is actually way too short but can’t be extended without sacrificing income that can impact rent, food, clothes, car, and the family as a whole. Not to mention the daycare issue. But then, Mrs Cumberbatch wouldn’t be worrying about those things, would she?

    • Sue says:

      Well, he also recently said that being a parent wasn’t his biggest accomplishment but it was his wife’s. To be honest, I feel pretty sure he didn’t mean exactly that–it was his usual garbled verbiage and I think he was trying to laud her for having his child–but taken together, those comments reassure me that I wouldn’t want to be in any relationship with him.

  12. Dani says:

    He needs to insert foot in mouth ASAP and sit down for like, the next 800 years.

  13. seesittellsit says:

    I guess it suddenly dawned on him that some of those OUT voters might boycott his new film because of how he and the rest of the London luvvie lot portrayed them.

  14. TotallyBiased says:

    It’s awesome that he wants to be a UNICEF celebrity supporter (perhaps Hiddleston told him some great stories)–but I’m confused about his announcement that he is discussing it with them.
    I thought people just quietly made arrangements and then UNICEF introduced them as celebrity supporters/UNICEF ambassadors, usually in the context of an awareness trip to somewhere in desperate conditions or some other form of raising awareness.
    I don’t remember ever hearing someone MIGHT do it.

    • lightpurple says:

      But he is a very special little snowflake and regular practices don’t apply!

    • Anne says:

      It’s more of an aside to the reporter.

      There’s no rules regarding that, however, as far as I know. There’s definitely been people reported as possible UNICEF ambassadors before an announcement was made by UNICEF in the past, particularly athletes. Sonny Bill Williams turned into a whole thing before that gross Tweet.

    • Sue says:

      It reminds me of people claiming to have been nominated for a Nobel Prize, as if that implies they just missed out on getting one. No, it doesn’t work that way. If he wants to be a UNICEF ambassador, fine, I guess, but I don’t really think he has much to contribute. I’m afraid he’d be doing it for appearances. He’s been associated with charities in the past like the Prince’s Trust—can he not stick to that, or is this part of his greater-worlds-to-conquer initiative?

  15. Maria says:

    I come from Spain, where life before the Euro was genuinely and truly MUCH better (as everything went crazily up in price as soon as it came in aka inflation and it seemed to keep going up, even though salaries remained the same or even went down).
    Now first of all, I lived in the UK for many years, mainly midlands but travelled (and stayed for a worthy amount of time) all around, including a couple of years in Scotland and of course met, studied and worked with people from all over it and let me tell you, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to compare the different regions and its people (or them individually!), much like their outlook on things and their politics (and their reasons behind it).
    Secondly, can somebody explain what did the EU do to the UK, for a majority of its citizens to vote out of it (genuine question, facts based answers/legit reasons please)?
    Because I have mainly heard of EU funded projects, investments etc… in the UK.
    The only times I’ve heard British people (and yes, they were ALWAYS white and mostly working class) complaining about the EU, it has always been done on the following terms: “They just want to control us!” “Who do they think they are?” “They are not better than us!” “We are BRITIIISH!” or “Too many foreigners/Europeans here!” And their favourite (and the one that always made me chuckle) “WE ARE AN ISLAND, A TINY ISLAND, THERE IS NOT ENOUGH SPACE FOR EVERYBODY!” ………………………………
    Thirdly and lastly, most people or everybody in every country worries about the possible impact of immigration, however, every country has to understand their own colonialist and imperialist past/roots (like Spain with Latinoamerica) and accept the fact that immigration is a natural (and ancient) process of human kind. Especially when people find themselves in extremely harsh conditions and/or many “big and powerful countries take advantage of the not so big or powerful ones”.
    PICTURE this: If you were/found yourself in a very difficult situation in your country and couldn’t see a solution, wouldn’t you want to leave? Wouldn’t you want your kids to leave? Wouldn’t you understand others around you leaving? And who is to blame if the citizens of said country can’t get a job or get offer less pay because of immigration? You, who is getting away from a very difficult situation while trying to survive/have a better life and is probably quite desperate or the OWNER of the business, who most of the time is a CITIZEN himself and who is taking advantage of the situation?
    The UK had and has many issues but who is it to blame? Its own government or the EU?