So, it’s official now. After pretty much exactly four years in Sweden, we will be leaving this summer. It’s not a secret that I have been struggling massively with the Swedish winters. Five to six months of ice and snow, the blackest, treacle-like darkness from 3pm to 9am during two months of that and a blanket of numbness that comes with it has proved too much for me to cope. It literally sucked the lust for life out of me.
Going back to London feels like going home – although my euphoria about returning to home turf has been somewhat muffled by recent events. I consider myself European, much more so than belonging to any particular country. According to Therese May, I am a ‘citizen of nowhere’ because of it. Cue intense eye rolling.
At the tender age of 41, I have now lived in five different countries, and what I loved so much about the UK, especially London, was that I have never felt like a foreigner. In a way, everybody seemed to be from somewhere else, and even if they didn’t, I felt appreciated for what I added to society. The result of the Brexit referendum changed that notion of appreciation – it has literally felt like a slap in the face. A bit like living in a relationship that you consider healthy and loving, only to be suddenly dumped by your partner, which will inevitably lead you to question all that you had.
Brexit so far seems to be the dumbest decision in recent British history. I say that without as much as a hint of Schadenfreude, because (to be sticking to comparing this fiasco to failed relationships) just like with the guy who left you for his intern, only to come crawling back to you within a matter of weeks, the damage has been done. Even if you (and the chances are high!) come out of your personal Tsunami stronger than ever before, while he will have to learn to live with shitloads of regrets, you are scarred and your relationship will always be a little less trustful.*
The discussion around Brexit is a lengthy and exhausting one. I always vowed to keep this blog a politics free zone, but as politics have become very personal of late, I am making an exception. I can’t quite comprehend what exactly Brexiters want if they are talking about taking back control and turning Britain back into what it used to be. Which era are we talking about here? The seventies? The time in which Britain was known as the sick man of Europe? Or are we going as far back as the Empire with all its atrocities?
The UKIPs, AfDs and Front Nationals of this world are a scary bunch, but they are also often uneducated, disillusioned and underprivileged, hence you could almost feel sorry for those people. I am more than aware of the danger the far-right poses, yet as long as their leaders keep screwing up, I don’t feel overly threatened, despite the recent spike in religious and racial hate crimes. Hate speech and crimes are morally and lawfully wrong, there’s no denying it. But what about those that have the law on their side?
Even more scary in my opinion are the Johnsons, Goves and Reese-Moggs of this world. They are the ones in power, and they decide about the fate of people they couldn’t give a rat’s arse about. They are the ones that will fight to keep what they think is theirs by birth right: an entitlement and privilege that goes against all I love about the EU.
What I love about the Brits though is the strong will to change and a certain can-do-attitude that sees the birth of amazing and courageous endeavours that challenge the status quo. Like this one or that one or that one.
The beauty about democracy is that we never have to accept the circumstances if we are not happy with them. Remoaning is our right – if not our duty.
*places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Obvs!
Picture: Lil’ L at a photoshoot for the Queen’s Jubilee in London 2012