What did the optimist say as he fell off the building? The perfect analogy for Brexit

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Tuesday 04 October 2016 11:30
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Picture:(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

An old poem about optimism has been used as an analogy for Brexit that's perfect for anyone not feeling positive about Britain's future.

On Monday, Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, addressed the Conservative Party conference. As he talked up Britain's trading achievements since Brexit, Fox made this judgement on the outcome of the EU referendum.

In case you haven't noticed, the sky didn't fall down on 24 June. For instead of investors fleeing the UK we have seen a record inward investment of £24 billion by the Japanese company, Softbank in Cambridge as well as a host of other new investments.

In response to this argument the Twitter user John Band deployed an old poem about optimism.

The optimist fell 10 storeys

And at each window bar

He shouted to the folks inside

'DOING ALRIGHT SO FAR!'

The original author of the poem remains anonymous, and there are also records it in the form of a joke.

An optimist is someone who falls off the Empire State Building, and after 50 floors says, 'So far so good!'

Other forms of the joke that reference buildings which predate the Empire State Building also exist.

But to be fair to Fox and the Leave campaign, they're right, the sky did not fall on June 24th.

The pound did however.

And after Theresa May vowed to trigger Article 50 by March 2017, the value of the pound against the dollar fell again, this time to a 31 year low.

He and other Leavers should probably consider warnings from the World Economic Forum that Britain could lose its lead in economic competitiveness as a result of Brexit.

It's also worth noting that his particular example regarding Softbank's sale was first announced in July. It's now October, Liam.

The speech has managed to be both premature and late to the party all at the same time.

Ardent Remainers should be wary of post hoc ergo propter hoc, and blaming the economic troubles on Brexit because it immediately preceded it.

Similarly, pro-Brexit fanatics like Fox ought not to mistake free-fall for flight, and calling Brexit a victory for the economy when Article 50 is still to be triggered is much too eager, nevermind optimistic.

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