Shortly before the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last Thursday, two of the country’s leading supporters of Brexit — Boris Johnson, the Conservative former mayor of London, and Nigel Farage, leader of the far-right UK Independence Party — argued that the vote could turn June 23 into Britain’s "Independence Day."
On Sunday, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver slammed the claim — and mourned his country’s decision to leave the EU. "First, Britain was already independent. In fact, it’s what many other countries celebrate their independence from," Oliver said. "Second, the sequel to the movie [Independence Day] actually opened this week, and features the wholesale destruction of London, which is beginning to feel pretty fucking appropriate right now."
Oliver pointed to the swift, destructive fallout of the UK’s vote. Over the past several days, global and British markets have dropped, the British pound was historically weak, and Prime Minister David Cameron, who signed off on the Brexit vote, announced he’s stepping down. And it could get worse, given that no one knows how, exactly, UK-EU negotiations for a British exit will end up.
"It seems like whoever the next UK prime minister is going to be, whether it’s Boris Johnson or a racist tea kettle, they are going to be in for a rough few years," Oliver said.
The situation also, Oliver pointed out, left many people living in the UK out in the cold. One such victim is a Portuguese mother, who took advantage of the EU’s open border policies to live and work in the UK. "I have two daughters — one was born in Portugal, the second one was born in UK," she said in a video played by Oliver. "They asked me this morning, ‘Mom, what is going to happen to us?’ And I told them at this point no one knows. I don’t know my future; I don’t know how to explain [to] my children what is going to happen to their future."
Oliver responded, clearly upset with the situation: "Perhaps I can help you with that, because it’s easy. Just tell them that they might be screwed, because a pig fucker called for a vote, a bus had some bullshit written on it, and then two idiots named Nigel and Boris quoted President Bill Pullman. They’ll get it. They’ll totally understand!"
But lest Americans think they’re spared from the politics behind Brexit, Oliver finished the segment with a warning to the US regarding Donald Trump: "You might think, ‘Well, that is not going to happen to us in America. We’re not going to listen to some ridiculously haired buffoon peddling lies and nativism in the hopes of riding a protest vote into power.’ Well, let Britain tell you it can happen. And when it does, there are no fucking do-overs."