LONDON — Not everyone in Britain, it is safe to say, welcomes the intervention of an American president in what’s viewed as the internal politics of the United Kingdom.
In a visit to London, President Barack Obama has argued in an opinion piece that Britons should vote to stay in the European Union rather than pull out. The UK has scheduled a nationwide vote on the issue for June 23.
And some Britons have reacted to Obama’s advice in what they see as an internal British matter in a way that echoes the words of the American author Ring Lardner: ” ‘Shut up,’ he explained.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson, writing for The Sun newspaper, implied that Obama was a hypocrite because Washington would never surrender so much power to Brussels, the EU’s de-facto capital.
And he suggested that “the part-Kenyan President” had an “ancestral dislike of the British empire.”
‘How’d ya like them apples?!’
Neither was everyone on social media impressed with what they viewed as Obama’s butinsky attitude.
Take for example, this tweet from @shedboy63, who identifies himself or herself as Desailly’s Child: “Obama sticking his hooter in the #Brexit debate. Well I suggest the USA become part of the United Kingdom again! How’d ya like them apples?!”
Brexit is shorthand for the British exit from the EU.
In his piece published in The Daily Telegraph, Obama evokes the Americans who died defending Britain in World War II and argues that Britain’s decision on whether to stay in the EU affects the rest of the world.
Even supporters resent ‘pat on the head’
Obama argues that Britain will amplify rather than diminish its global influence by remaining a member of the EU.
Not everyone resented his advice. People interviewed in London by CNN on Friday generally said the President was entitled to state his viewpoint.
“He’s welcome to an opinion,” one man said. “But I think if you look closer to your own borders you’ve got bigger things to worry about than us staying in Europe — you’ve got a few crazies running for your presidency. So we’ll deal with our problems, you deal with yours, and we’ll thrash it out in the end.”
And a Twitter user named Peter Coles, otherwise known as @telescoper, said the President was right to make his case.
“Obama’s intervention is fully justified by history & economics,” Coles tweeted. “Abusive reactions on the #BrExit campaign reveal their ignorance of both.”
But even some people who agreed with the President thought he would have been better off keeping his trap shut.
“Whilst I think we are better off staying in the EU,” tweeted Jack Duncan, or @JD_Duncan, “I resent this patronising pat on the head from Obama. P*** off! Could back fire #Brexit”