I still love everything I’ve always loved about this country. Over the years, it has served me well, and it has brought about some truly awesome events – things so incredible that the memory of them still makes me squeal with glee. Events like the 2012 olympics, or Monty Python Live. There are things about this country, in terms of it’s culture, history, geography or whatever, which I adore, and always will. I love the British countryside: it’s winding lanes and fields; it’s small woodlands and charming little villages. I love it’s mighty capital, the greatest city on earth, so full of life and variety. Nothing can change that.
Yet this hellish year, things did change. The people of this country let theirselves be persuaded by liars and cheats into voting for something utterly mindless. This country took a step towards xenophobia and fascism, and it felt as if the place I grew up had been taken from me. How could I love anywhere which was so inward looking? Which seemingly shunned the wider world in favour of petty nationalism? There was a time I thought I hated this country, for it had allowed itself to be taken from me by idiots.
Yet all the things I loved about this place are still there; memories have not been changed by events which followed them. The 2012 olympics were still a triumph for this amazing metropolis*; I still count watching Python Live in 2014 to be among the greatest privileges of my life; I still adore Bond films. After all, they all happened before this year, so how could the referendum change or taint their memory? Don’t the rivers still flow, and aren’t the fields still green?
Nothing has changed.
Only, on another level, it feels like something has. While the past remains unchanged, I no longer like where this country is heading. I still love this country, but this year I feel it has been tainted. It has become somewhere darker and more inward-looking; it is no longer the bright, welcoming, upbeat place I loved. Something I valued dearly has been taken from me by liars and fools, and I want it back.
*London, of course, had the good sense to vote Remain by a considerable margin.