There is no solid ground to put our feet on as we walk into the future.
First published in May 2018.
When you travel, you notice it.
Yesterday, your foot fell on cobbled streets. Today, you are in a train station, then the train itself, smooth and fast. Then you land in a city you’ve never seen before and you have one minute to absorb the intricacies of the metro system.
The future is uncertain.
Travelling through Europe this month, a beautiful May with tree blossoms, cold nights, and early roses, a month of many disagreements, a month of fast trains and train strikes, a month of spirited discussions and great food, what I noticed most, coming from Britain, is a sense of solidity.
Wherever your foot falls, you will be at home.
EU countries have a solid place in the world, so solid that many people don’t even notice it.
They rest their lives on the foundation of that solidity. Maybe you could call it stability if you were more politically minded. But for most, it is just the ground our feet walk on.
Even the train strike in France that left me stranded at the Gare de l’Est was a temporary displacement of a small fragment of solidity that left the entire edifice untouched. I was still at home. There was even a timetable for the strike.
Coming from Britain, I suddenly realised how broken the very ground we try to walk on has become.
Of course the future is always uncertain, but in Britain, a huge, very urgent uncertainty has been deliberately created.
Nobody knows what the conditions for our daily lives will be in 10 months’ time.
How will we do business? How will we travel?
How will we EU citizens continue our lives here?
Where are any of us at home?
Britain has chosen to rip the solid ground that we plan our lives around apart, and everything is up in the air.
Broken pieces flying around me as I stand in front of the Houses of Parliament. Hitting me in the face instead of waiting to let my foot rest on them. Whatever the outcome, Brexit has taken our trust in the solidity of our institutions, our laws, the conditions on which we plan our lives away.
I feel that uncertainty now. I don’t know where to walk, and the piece of earth I stand upon is already crumbling away.
The ground we step on as we walk into the future is slippery and full of holes. Holes that we can fall into. No wonder that so many British people prefer to close their eyes and walk in the darkness. It’s just as dangerous but at least you don’t have to see it.🔷
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