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Sat Apr 6, 2019, 07:08 AM

A shambles on which the sun never sets: how the world sees Brexit

A New York Times columnist believes the UK “has gone mad”. How, asks a Russian TV host, can Britain fail so spectacularly “to correlate its capabilities with reality”? For Australia, it’s like “watching a loved grandparent in physical and mental decline”.

From China to Israel and Russia to Brazil, a world well beyond Europe is watching Britain’s Brexit bedlam with sorrow, bafflement and amusement – and, in those parts of the globe once told that Rule Britannia meant order, stability and shared long-term prosperity, not a little schadenfreude.

“If you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t come to London right now, because there is political farce everywhere,” wrote the New York Times commentator Thomas Friedman. “In truth, though, it’s not very funny. It’s actually tragic.”

Here was a country “determined to commit economic suicide but unable even to agree on how to kill itself”, led by “a ship of fools” unwilling to “compromise with one another and with reality”. The result was an “epic failure of political leadership”, Friedland said: scary stuff, but “you can’t fix stupid”.


Jon Henley gathers media reactions from the USA, Afghanistan, Israel, Venezuela, India, Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, Kenya, Russia, China, Japan and Brazil.

If things pan out as it looks like they will at the moment, maybe they'll toss us a trade deal or two out of sheer sympathy.

The UK post-Brexit: "Big Issue! Get yer Big Issue!"

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