Tuesday, June 28, 2016

leaving England

... in the very early morning: I'm now back in New Mexico.  It was a quintessential mid-summer's morning: thin golden sunlight; a little dew; plenty of roses in my parents' garden.  And yet - the England that I left isn't the England in which I arrived.  It's a country stifled by its own xenophobia, anxiety, nostalgia, narrow idealism, and deplorable, pathetic, lamentable naivete.   This isn't true, of course, of almost all my friends (indeed, probably all my friends) - but this is at least part of the compound that makes me deeply, deeply sad that, barring miracles, I won't go back to a place that I love and find it much, much smaller and sadder.  Nostalgia isn't just the prerogative of those older people for whom now - if one's to believe social media - no one much is prepared, any longer, to stand up on the Tube.  It belongs to those of us who cheered all the ways in which the Britain of June 2016 is emphatically not the Britain of - say - 1967, when we were clambering out of post-war greyness, and when Charles de Gaulle was delivering his emphatic "non."  I'm still finding last week's result hard to process in its emotional ramifications, let alone its political ones.

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