I couldn’t talk to you last week. That would be the first Friday in over four years that I haven’t wibbled on about something and delighted in how we were getting to natter. I couldn’t talk to you because I couldn’t get any words out. I stood in my little office, shaking. I don’t mean that the way one usually does, an exaggeration that I was shaken by the EU Referendum vote, I mean it literally. Physically.
Standing there shaking, convulsing. I had to hold my hands against my head to stop it, to steady it.
We’re a week on now and I should be over it. I certainly see that there’s no point saying all this to you when you’ve heard and thought it before. But if I had written to you last week, it would’ve been the shortest Self Distract I’ve ever done. It would’ve been one word. I’d have said “Fucked”.
That was before the eye-popping racism of the last few days. I didn’t see that coming. I saw all sorts of things that are now coming true, but I didn’t see that. Britain has a lot in its history that you can’t be proud of, I didn’t expect to be feeling that today.
Look, I was going to say we’re a week on, we’ve got to put this behind us. I was going to talk to you about a writing issue or something. Anything. Change the subject. Instead, I have just written and deleted a thousand words about how this affects me and my work as a writer. (Let me tell you one: I got some business support from an EU-funded programme and through it met some people I deeply admire. The project is done but nothing like it will ever, can ever happen again.)
I was going to write about how it’s said you can’t blame people for voting this way but, yeah, you can. I was in a discussion where a pro-leave person was asked who’ll run the UK next, Boris Johnson or Michael Gove. This person said well, that’s up to us now, isn’t it? Nope. You can’t buy total factual inaccuracy and complete political naïveté, but apparently you can find it very easily.
No, stop me. This isn’t doing either of us any good. If you looked out of your window and thought everything seems much the same as it did, go out the door instead. If you think we’ll look back on this in five years and wonder what the fuss was about, you’re confusing things being fine with having no damn choice about it.
I hope we will become inured to this result but we are permanently injured.