Hi America, British Politics Went Completely Mad Today

    Today there was a naval battle in the middle of London, because that's how British politics works in 2016, apparently. We just felt we should tell you about it.

    Good morning, America! We're going to tell you about a thing that happened in London today, even though it's really, really embarrassing.

    BREAKING: The state of British politics summed up in a clip of a flotilla face-off

    Basically, there was a naval battle on the Thames. That's the river running through the middle of London, for those of you who have never visited this baffling, uncomfortable country we call home.

    Farage flotilla forced to pass under Tower Bridge with IN banners draped over it.

    It happened because of the EU referendum. Perhaps you haven't heard about this yet, because you are very, very lucky.

    Horns filling central London as the pro-Brexit flotilla attempts to drown out Bob Geldof's boat soundsystem.

    The tl;dr of the EU referendum is that next week British people are voting on whether they want the UK to leave or remain in the European Union. The EU currently has 28 member states, most of which share a currency and freedom of movement.


    SHOTS FIRED! A Leave vessel just hit Remain supporters with a hose

    It all started when a flotilla of pro-Leave craft – mostly fishing vessels – gathered at sea and then steamed up the Thames Estuary towards London, in order to make a point.

    Picture of the pro-Brexit flotilla of ships heading up the Thames to the heart of pro-Remain London. (This is real.)

    "Brexit" stands for "British exit" from the EU. Pro-Brexit is the same as pro-Leave.

    Of course, the pro-Remain side would not stand for this incursion into their territory. So naturally they sent their own boat with former Boomtown Rats singer and prominent philanthropist Bob Geldof in it, to harrass the oncoming Leave fleet.

    So I’m on a Remain boat with Bob Geldof and Rachel Johnson. They’re heading off Nigel Farage’s Thames flotilla.

    We cannot stress enough how strange this all is.

    Here's Geldof, surrounded by supporters, making what is in Britain a very rude hand gesture.

    As time went on, the Remain forces grew in strength while the Leave flotilla drew ever closer. The Remain craft tried to gain a psychological advantage by playing pop music loudly at their enemies.

    Bob Geldof's pro-Remain boat (war music: Magic FM) has been joined by a couple of smaller pro-Remain attack craft.

    And this is the "admiral" of the Leave flotilla. His name is Nigel Farage, and he's the leader of the UK Independence Party, which, as its name suggests, wants us to get out of the European Union.

    He's a bit of a...controversial figure in Britain.

    I ask Nigel Farage why he's taken up cigarettes again. Farage: "I think the doctors have got it wrong on smoking"

    Anyway, eventually the sides clashed – and one of the most important political decisions in modern UK history came down to a bunch of angry fishermen spraying a singer from the 1980s with water.

    The fisherman are spraying Sir Bob Geldof and the Remain Raft with hoses:

    To be absolutely clear, this all actually happened. For reference, imagine if Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton and Paula Abdul got in some kayaks on Lake Michigan and shot water at each other.

    War is hell.

    Pictured: a pro-Brexit fisherman squirting water at a pro-EU dinghy

    Here's a pro-Leave fishing boat. Lots of people in the fishing industry think we should leave the European Union, which regulates what they can and can't fish.

    And here we have another one of the pro-Leave boats, bearing a sign expressing concern about the threat of the EU to British sovereignty.

    Seen yer Da's bothering the ducks down at Victoria Park pond again.

    In British culture, it’s common to insult someone by saying that an embarrassing older gentleman is that person’s father, i.e. "yer da".

    Of course, this is not London's first floating protest.

    Of course the suffragettes did the boat thing first #flotilla

    It helps that the House of Commons backs on to the Thames, so that one's elected representatives have a clear view of one's floating protests.

    HMS Farage reaches Parliament. Ready the cannons

    Anyway, as the day went on, things got really out of hand.

    Brexiteer shouting at tourists on Westminster Bridge: "Hitler did it with gas. Merkel is doing it with paperwork!"

    Apologies to all tourists visiting London today.

    There was boat-ramming.

    Some Brexit fishermen make their feelings known to Bob Geldof's boat

    Accusations flew.

    Harbour Master is frantically gesturing at the Geldof boat. Geldof is screaming. Someone just accused a dinghy of being from Goldman Sachs.

    Greenpeace got involved.

    Brexit flotilla’s star trawler was involved in £63m fishing fraud >> https://t.co/TT5flMEpcO

    Lots of people came out to watch the mayhem and support their side.

    Nigel Farage and his fellow Brexiteers were very proud.

    Wanna feel old? This is what Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet look like today #flotilla

    But mostly the whole thing was very, very strange.

    So just remember, America, you don't have a monopoly on weird, awful politics.

    Glad to see Dany's storyline is finally picking up on Game of Thrones