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David Cameron Decided On Brexit Referendum Over Pizza At O'Hare

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jun 24, 2016 5:01PM

O'Hare International Airport's walkway (photo via Joe Goldberg on Flickr)

One of the greatest follies in modern political history has roots in the perhaps the most banally familiar Chicago activity: eating pizza at O'Hare International Airport.

It was at a pizza place in that airport, back in April 2012, that now-resigning British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to grant a referendum on whether Britain would leave the European Union, according to the Financial Times. The decision would ultimately cost him his job and set off a wave of financial instability.

Cameron was in town for for the NATO summit—which you'll remember had its own dramatic repercussions—along with his foreign secretary, William Hague, and his chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn. The three were just having some airport slices when Cameron made "the fateful decision."

Writes the Financial Times:

"It was a "kick the can down the road" party management exercise that has been used repeatedly by Mr. Cameron, a pragmatic prime minister who had sought to delay the ultimate confrontation with his party over Europe."

We all caught up to that can Thursday night, when Britain narrowly voted to leave the EU. Since then, the value of the British pound has fallen, European stock prices have plummeted and populist (and nativist) appetites have been sated.

We were tempted to crack jokes about Chicago-style pizza and instant regret and regrettable airport-dining decisions, but we're honestly still too shellshocked from all the turmoil. Our thoughts are with you, Britain.

[H/T Tribune]