Yesterday at 6.40am, the radio blythly told us in passing “… tomorrow the UK leaves the European Union.”
My heart hangs heavy.
Four years ago, it never occurred to me quite how out of touch I was with 17.4 million inhabitants of the so-called United Kingdom. (Those of voting age was 45.7 million. Do th’arithmatic)
Truly, I had no idea and even less conception that Northern Ireland (not), Scotland (not), Wales (?) and England felt so threatened by immigration that severing ties with the EU was the only option to protect&secure UK borders.
In some respects I geddit.
I get that seeing people who have no respect for UK values and traditions demand and receive tax-payer-subsized lifestyles is puzzlingly irksome. I am hip to the notion that lack of self-determination appears a dismal quid pro quo for membership of a disordered club: a club which had the gentleness to sing Auld Lang Syne as the UK contingent left in graceless shambles.
1973 happened. It’s over. Returning to 1972 is a) ill-advised and b) impossible. Heraclitus’ river has flowed on by.
My heart hurts.
The putting asunder of the United Kingdom seems an inevitable consequence for Britain (it ceased Greatness some while since).
Shakespeare has John of Gaunt in Richard II*, (Act II, Scene i) say this:
…… Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear’d by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
Of the world’s ransom, blessed Mary’s Son,
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,
Like to a tenement or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
* Richard II 1367 – 1400: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose