I’m not given to out-and-out anger, I’m more of a standing-in-the-wings-making-waspish-comments type. But as I drove to work on Friday, I was angry. Angry and upset. The vote had been put and the votes had been cast. We were out, out of Europe, out of friends and soon to be out of ideas on what to do next.
The central reservation between the carriageways was strewn with massive ‘vote leave’ placards. I wanted to screech to a halt, burst out of the car, rip them from the ground and jump up and down on them until they were pulp. I wanted to kick them, then set fire to them, extinguish them, then set fire to them again, grinding the ashes under my size eights. Boy was I vexed.
I didn’t of course, it may have helped me feel better, but no doubt some other commuter would have captured the act on their phone and I would have gone viral. Oh the capriciousness of social media where silly acts and cute kittens hold the same attention as serious arguments on life-changing matters, like the stay or go referendum on our place in the European Union for example.
I managed to avoid any placard-bothering for the rest of my journey, but it was a close thing, I can tell you, they’d sprung up like hydra’s heads. The radio was broadcasting music, thanks goodness, with the ever-cheerful Chris Evans stationed at Glastonbury. He asked a youngster what they thought of the Brexit vote, the lad, who would have been all of ten years old, said he wasn’t really interested as it didn’t affect him. Oh my goodness, he will never be more wrong in his life.
When I arrived at work, there was a subdued quietness in the office. The Prime Minister’s inevitable resignation speech was heard by us all, we stood looking at the phone which was serving as a radio, just one person grinned and said what good news it was. I have to say that while I respect everyone’s right to vote in whichever way they wish, she will not be on my Christmas card list.
Greater intellects than mine are now examining the entrails of the Remain campaign and asking where it all went wrong. My anger has turned to sadness, especially as I witness what I can only describe as bigots and racists saying they are glad that we now ‘have our country back’ and that ‘they’ can go ‘back to where they belong’, whatever that means.
There seems to be some expectation among the Brexiters that the NHS, which I love with all my heart, will now be flush with the money that we won’t have to pay to those bureaucrats in Brussels. I’m not an economist, but I know they are wrong. The challenges facing the NHS are more to do with our ageing population and the inevitable wear-and-tear conditions and illnesses they suffer rather than ‘them’ coming ‘over here’ and ‘using our NHS’. We need ‘them’ to staff our NHS and care homes, FFS, because we don’t have enough of ‘us’ to do it.
I believe in Europe, hell, it’s not perfect, but we’re enriched by being part of something that is bigger than our little island. I love hearing different languages and sharing the fascinations of diverse cultures. I speak French, I read it, I write it. I can get by in German if I want to know where the toilet is or order coffee and schwarzwalderkirschtorten. I can gesticulate in Italian and shrug in Spanish. I have friends who live in Europe and I hope to make many more, because I am a European. My dad is Irish so I have dual nationality, all I have to do is get my Irish passport for my own Remain campaign. My application is in the post.