It’s been a rough year for England, and it seems to be getting rougher. One setback comes when it’s least expected, and then just as things seem to be getting better, there comes, ‘the next wave’. Boom. Another unsettlement.
In some ways, one could have awoken last morning and said, “the blockbuster continues.” In some ways, it would be quite like something straight out of Hollywood (or television, which just can’t be discounted, since I realised I probably watch more TV than movies… and it’s obviously not only me!)
In terms of emotions, over the last year, Britain has gone from shock to embarrassment, denial to pain to resistance, then to consolidation and reemerging confidence, to yet another shock.
The days after the referendum, for many, were like a daze. Everyone wanted it, or so they’d made out. But when it happened, no one expected it. Despite all the bitter resentment they were portrayed to have had, Britons, at the very end, had the faith in their people that the outcome at the end would only serve as another opinion poll, something to say that, look, a lot of us may not be the happiest about all the shit that’s supposed to be happening around here, but we’ll pull through. Majorly.
But turns out, more damage had been done than pre-referendum polls could have detected.
Then came the divide: some want to stay, all of a sudden, in fact, more people than before want to Remain, while those who really wanted to leave, those who were really convinced that, in the style of a certain someone, the EU was a ‘bad deal’, were now emboldened by their win, and rose up with cries of their assertion as the majority.
The generation divide followed highlighted, with many disappointed to see their chance to see the bold, free world disappearing over the horizon of the past. The life they would never have, now to become something to adorn history texts. Their life ahead, robbed.
They tried to fight back, separately, London and Scotland tried to break away, to hold on to that fleeting dream. But a strong hand pulled the kittens back in by the tail, and got them firmly to stay put.
To many, it seemed that this Strong Hand would bring them stability, (to quote a Chvrches song, ‘Will I be the strong hand keeping you safe/ Or will I break you in half?’ (Yes, the self-declared staunch rock and roller likes a majority of the synthpop band’s debut album. Sue me already.))
But there were signs, right from the start, that this lyric may come true in full.
The kittens, though, weren’t going to sit quietly. There was fighting, fighting the decision, fighting the disappointment they felt, trying to find their places and relevance in a soon-to-be post-Brexit world.
I remember reading about a major walk taking place in London, held by Remainers. One of them said (not verbatim) that they pretty much knew that they couldn’t change the outcome, but they wanted to have their voices heard, to make the 52% know that they were disappointed.
It was all they could do to remain relevant, couldn’t they?
(Look, I’m not British, so if you are, and feel I’m wrong, feel free to tell me. It’s my opinion, and it’s mostly shaped by reading.)
But there was rising uncertainty, May was strong, maybe even too much, when it came to her decisions. Criticism came in from different corners, even from insiders, and the Rejected and the youth were starting to eye a new option, somewhere they could be heard again… yet, just like Brexit, no one thought it would be enough. Wrong again, eh?
The shock hits again, a frown sits back on the brow again, and will one mistake lead to another, or will we finally have struck back? When will we ever be sure? and other questions revolve. Only time will tell, in the mean time, well-meaning observers would only wish that the Blockbuster, as in a hero-centric thriller, lead a bruised but more experienced, resilient Britain rising from the rubble, in perfect control of its senses and with a sense of balance, reemerging.