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Home EJIL Analysis Brexit and Hamilton’s King George: You’ll Be Back and What Comes Next

Brexit and Hamilton’s King George: You’ll Be Back and What Comes Next

Published on June 28, 2016        Author: 

If I may be forgiven for lowering the level of conversation (yet again) after the excellent post by Jure Vidmar & Craig Eggett and Larry Helfer’s post over on Opinio Juris discussing many important legal issues – I just wanted to share a (rare) happy Brexitian thought. In Broadway’s smash-hit Hamilton, coming soon to London’s West End, King George sings a delectable British Invasion-y break-up song to his American soon-to-be-ex subjects (“You’ll Be Back”) and then follows up with two shorter songs on the same tune (one of them, “What Comes Next”, works magnificently here as you’ll see). Now, I concede that the analogy is imperfect, but humour me. Just picture in your head Donald Tusk or (better yet) Jean-Claude Juncker at his charming best, belting this out to Britain on behalf of the EU. Got that? Hold that in, take a breath. Then listen, read the lyrics below, and tell me you can’t feel the magic. Am I right or what?

 

“You’ll Be Back”

You say
The price of my love’s not a price that you’re willing to pay
You cry
In your tea which you hurl in the sea when you see me go by
Why so sad?
Remember we made an arrangement when you went away
Now you’re making me mad
Remember, despite our estrangement, I’m your man
You’ll be back, soon you’ll see
You’ll remember you belong to me
You’ll be back, time will tell
You’ll remember that I served you well
Oceans rise, empires fall
We have seen each other through it all
And when push comes to shove
I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love!

“What Comes Next”

They say
The price of my war’s not a price that they’re willing to pay
Insane
You cheat with the French, now I’m fighting with France and with Spain
I’m so blue
I thought that we’d made an arrangement
When you went away
You were mine to subdue
Well, even despite our estrangement, I’ve got
A small query for you:

What comes next?
You’ve been freed
Do you know how hard it is to lead?

You’re on your own
Awesome. Wow
Do you have a clue what happens now?

Oceans rise
Empires fall
It’s much harder when it’s all your call

All alone, across the sea
When your people say they hate you, don’t
Come crawling back to me

Da da da dat da dat da da da
Da ya da
Da da dat
Da da ya da…

You’re on your own…

PS The third song, “I Know Him”, works equally magically for the blossoming Tory war of prime-ministerial succession (and even the Labour shadow equivalent)  – appropriate substitutions in brackets:

They say
[David Cameron’s] yielding his power and stepping away
‘Zat true?
I wasn’t aware that was something a person could do
I’m perplexed
Are they gonna keep on replacing whoever’s in charge?
If so, who’s next?
There’s nobody else in their country who looms quite as large…

A sentinel whispers in King George’s ear

[Boris Johnson] ?!
I know him
That can’t be
That’s that little guy who spoke to me
All those years ago
What was it, eighty-five?
That poor man, they’re gonna eat him alive!
Oceans rise
Empires fall
Next to [Cameron? // analogy breaks apart, but hey], they all look small
All alone
Watch them run
They will tear each other into pieces
Jesus Christ, this will be fun!

Da da da dat da dat da da da da ya da
Da da da dat dat da ya daaaaa!

[“Prime Minister Johnson”]
Good Luck

 

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. Diane Desierto Diane Desierto

    If you really want to talk about lowering the level of conversation:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/27/donald-trump-predicts-breakup-of-eu

  2. Kristen

    Agreed! The similarities are uncanny! I wrote this post a few days ago on all the ways Hamilton explains Brexit: https://www.buzzfeed.com/kzornada/the-world-turned-upside-down-14-times-hamilton-2g9lk