“There’s a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go.”
One Year On
My son Xabi had been up all night. He suffers from silent reflux and in the early hours after the Brexit referendum he was still stiff as a board in my arms, struggling to get to sleep while my eyes were glued to the television. I can’t forget how nerve-racking watching the results was, for once I did not mind the little man being awake. It was me trying to wake up from the nightmare that David Dimbleby was unfolding by announcing the results. With the first glimpses of early morning light Xabi finally gave up but darkness kept creeping in my heart. In tears I woke up my partner with a whisper or a howl more like it. We are out, I said to him. We are out. I’ve never thought democracy could make me cry as much as I did back then. I supposed it was not only because of the result, but more to do with tiredness from a campaign which, was based on a revolting use of immigration to justify everything that was wrong in the country due to lack of investment. I never saw myself as an immigrant. I was just an EU citizen enjoying the free movement but that night I felt like one for the first time and I was angry, I still am, that my voice as the voices of so many of us were not heard at all during that campaign. I wish they let us vote that day…
A whole year has passed. A strange year. The UK has a new prime minister, a historical day for you and Europe when article 50 was triggered, another election, the barbarism of terrorism but in a very weird way it is like nothing has happened on the Brexit side of things. Ms May losing her majority in the General election is just the beginning of the realisation that Brexit means Brexit is a catchy but extremely empty phrase. The implications of leaving the EU are going to shape this country socially, territorial and economically, but so far I haven’t heard anything more than vacuum packed premade answers and empty promises. After the start of the negotiations with the EU on Monday, one thing is clear, the journey is going to be extremely bumpy. Despite the well-orchestrated camaraderie between Davies and Barnier you can feel chaos is coming. The EU have spent all these months preparing their strategy as a united block to minimise the impact of the UK departure. They know it is going to be damaging, they do not want no deal. On the other hand Ms May’s position as a prominent leader is fatally wounded and the Brexit route is non-existent so far. Davis is right when in the press conference he admitted that the important thing is not how you start, it is how you finish. It showed intelligence to recognise that the EU have taken the lead so far by denying the commercial negotiations to start until the divorce bill and the status of EU citizens are sorted. After a year things are starting to move. Slowly, the slowest show ever seen on earth.
A year on and selfishly today I cannot help but speak up again about the limbo all the EU citizens and their families are in at the moment. It not as diabolical as the wonderfully bizarre limbo I have chosen today painted by Master Bosch so many centuries ago but without sounding melodramatic I do feel a year is an excessive punishment to all of us. A much civilised torture not knowing what is next for us while we still carry on as any other person in this country. In the long run Westminster needs to see that all this talk of new ways of attracting the brightest to the country is not going to happen if this is the way you are treating the bright and not so bright people that are already here. People are leaving. Me and my family, we are thinking about it too. Only because Brexit unfortunately uncovered that the dreamed integration was not so dreamy after all. I do not cry anymore about it but I have had enough of waiting for something to happen. “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” Wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby. Well. I am not staring anymore. Have a great weekend amigos.
P.S. Dear Ms May, did you really need a whole year to come up with this offer on EU citizens? … I’m waiting for the whole plan to be unveiled next Monday. Before I go for the jugular it would be better to know the full details. I can’t wait.