I have made a cup of tea. I have taken a shower and cleaned up after a half hearted little run and full-hearted little weep. The sea and the sky and the beautiful coastline were still there. I was sort of half there. And now half here. Looking out at my verdant tiny corner of Britain, this ‘one big garden’ of a country.
I am still thinking about it. I feel like I’ve woken up on the other side of the looking glass. And Wonderland always seemed darkly Kafkaesque to me. Never liked it. That rabbit hole. But the UK has spoken and those who want out of the EU have run past the post just – JUST – ahead. Is our great future now something to only catch glimpses of as we give chase? To me personally, the white rabbit we are now expected to pull out of our hat looks more like that bloody thing from Donny Darko.
And just to be clear. If I’d done a little single take film to camera earlier this morning, it would have shown some nice chap being frighteningly fucking angry.
How oddly comforting it is to be impotently self righteous, don’t you find? Maybe just me.
It’s the first time I have felt caught up in a fearsome-seeming social political climate change. Was about to tell myself that the people of my country haven’t awoken to such a redefining shift in social climate in two generations – until I remembered that that’s hardly true. Communities across the country have lived in soul- and community-destroying toxic atmospheres created by suddenly finding themselves at odds existentially with the ideology of the government of the day, in my living memory. Having no clue what it was really like to live through the miners’ strike up close, for example, shows just how long I have lived in the south. There are so very many ways I have not known what it’s like to have to prove one’s self a legitimate ‘insider’ here in Britain, or worse.
This morning isn’t even a proper taste of such a thing for me, is it.
So it’s interesting that people from many of those communities effectively stood with people from supposedly cosier corners of Britain to vote that they’d had enough of feeling stuck. Maybe smothered. Certainly imposed upon. Disempowered. This vote has, I think, felt like an actual lever of power for lots of us.
The question I believe we should regularly re-ask is: Who is pulling what levers? THAT is the job of a real democracy.
But now comes the mettle testing of us all, then; democracy has brought us suddenly this far. Will we reframe the whole mood imposed on us? Will we PRACTICE ways to heal the divide we didn’t ask for? If you voted out, I know you did it with conviction. Now is when your confidence in your decision must lead. Confidence to not take offense at others’ heartbreak and lostness and anger this morning. You’ve poured plenty of yours into this too, we all have. Confidence to defend the vulnerable, not how you fear others see you. Confidence to stop throwing the word ‘fear’ around – banish that duplicitous bastard of a word for a while. Confidence to not waste time seeking to justify yourself – go find ways to seek justice. And help me to know how to do it. And if you’re half the person I think you are, you won’t let yourself be phased by me saying this, you’ll simply cross the house and sit next to me. Because that’s why you’re awesome.
We have more in common than we don’t as British people alive now – even if you have felt any relief this morning and I have felt a few moments of despair. We were ALWAYS a brilliantly intricate Venn diagram of different associations, beliefs and groups – here, and all over the world. None of us fits a single box. We were never a simple label, living under any single banner. Where we are sharingly British is how we are so cool with eachother being ourselves. Perhaps better than anyone has managed it as a defined group of 65million. It is our social bio diversity that has made us strong.
Let THAT fairness and inclusivity and adaptiveness define our shared Britain now. And if you voted for this huge gamble, you’d better make fucking sure you make good on your stated British values. The Britain everyone always says was ‘built’. Not simply felt. Time for us all to get off our arses. The real world is at our door now. Our neighbours and their problems haven’t gone anywhere. So help me to help.
This from Paul Mason is well worth a read. A perspective I personally can see a way forward in, from an economist and a bloke who’s watched the collapse of the working class up close. These are the nettles he thinks we may really have to seize. The future is at hand, and now we can all, perhaps, grab hold of a bit of it. Gardening gloves on, everyone.
So shall we, mate, go and put the fucking kettle on?
“All we can do, as the left, is go on fighting for the interests of the poor, the workforce, the youth, refugees and migrants. We have to find better institutions and better language to do it with. As in 1932, Britain has become the first country to break with the institutional form of the global order.
If we do have a rerun of the 1930s now in Europe, we need a better left. The generation that tolerated Blairism and revelled in meaningless centrist technocracy needs to wake up. That era is over.”