What a week. 2016 is not shaping up to be a great year, and this month is the nadir. It can’t, just can’t, get worse.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch the news on television or listen to it on the radio. I heard the result via text from Octavio. I had gone to bed sometime after two. In the time it took for me to clean my teeth and get into my pyjamas the Leave vote had pushed four thousand votes ahead of Remain, and I had a bad feeling.
I went back to sleep after replying to Octavia. When I woke up later I was slightly more refreshed, but I felt stunned, and my legs felt weak, as though I was getting up after a bout of ‘flu. Celia sent me a series of messages and we agreed to go ahead with our plan made the other day to meet up this afternoon.
She is both more sanguine and more pessimistic than I am. I feel as though I have been punched in the chest and in the solar plexus. Every now and then I think I am going to cry. But I reason that with 48% of us voting to stay in the EU, the Brexit head honchos, that tawdry and tarnished triumvirate of BoJo, Gove and Farage, will have to adjust their plans. Celia thinks they’ll be able to do as they want.
On Wednesday I pledged to Love Like Jo. I do love my country, and today makes me very very sad. I may join one of my nephews who is thinking of getting an Irish passport, but for me that would be largely symbolic. I feel it is up to those of us who voted Remain, those of us who regarded the whole campaign, both sides, as toxic, need to hit the ground running, need to stand up and say OK, we accept the result, but this is our country too, and where we go from here demands the involvement of all of us. This is a vote to leave the EU, it is not a vote for xenophobia. If we are all in it together, if we are to build something out of this mess, then we need to remember we have more in common with each other than divides us.
Had it not been for this referendum I believe Jo Cox would still be alive today. However you voted, I suspect you admired her spirit, her commitment to her country, her compassion, her energy and her humanity. As Brexiteers celebrate their success, I hope they too are asking themselves what sort of country they want to live in, and when Johnson, Gove, Farage et al try to push towards to a state that denies tolerance, honesty and fairplay they will be reminded sharply that those are not the values we stand for.
Octavia has sent me a link to a piece I have not brought myself to read, but I’ll share it here. See what you think.
When I left Celia this afternoon and was walking home, a girl swung her cigarette and it burnt my hand. She didn’t apologise in words but gave me a slight smile. It’s a start.
I am now going to try to watch the news on Channel 4.