It can’t just be because I’m pregnant that I’ve cried several times over the past two weeks. I welled up at the sight of an EU flag hanging from someone’s house today. Beause all I have seen for months are Leave banners. Remain posters only popping up locally over the past week. We have chanced a small cut out poster in our front window. Our sense of solidarity and duty only narrowly outweighing the fear of our house becoming a target of vandalism and the real risk of losing potential house viewings.
I feel bereft of a nation of people, Brits, I can love and be proud of, feeling I have enough in common with to belong to. The question isn’t what has happened? The question is how long have so many ‘normal’ ‘lovely’ people felt this way? Been harbouring this latent resentment towards outsiders/the outside that is now eagerly and easily translated to likely Brexit votes?
No matter what the result tomorrow, I feel I have already lost the country I thought I had. I have always been patriotic. Proud to be English. But how can I feel anything but ashamed that the vote is too close to call. The country is divided and for once not by party, but still scarily by class and by age, and mostly by fear. It is just an incredibly sad time. The level of engagement is shockingly low. Even an MP’s murder hasn’t had a big enough impact on people to stop them focusing on the day to day routine, gripes and pleasures of their lives. The big picture seemingly has no place on Facebook.
France is not without political problems, but the Ariege is a haven. No matter what the financial picture post-Brexit or Bremain, if France will have us we will run into Europe’s arms with no regrets. If all you need is love, we are out of luck, because there just doesn’t seem enough love to go around here. Fraternity on a European scale. Fraternity on a human scale. Surely that is something we will always be able to count on from France. I need my kids to be proud of their country’s politics. They will be with me seeing politics in action all day tomorrow in the rain, wearing Remain tshirts and stickers if we can get them, just to feel satisfied I am doing all I can in person as well as pushing as hard as I can on social media. I know they and I will hear plenty of hatred and closed-mindedness but we will also see plenty of people who remind us that the world is full of heroism and to never ever lose faith in humanity.