You know when you were little and your mum comforted you after you’d had a bad dream? I had to do that to my mum this morning. She was crying. And the “bad dream” was real…
I’ve stopped reading social media today and probably for a while because I feel too sick and sleep-deprived to bear it, and if I have to see that hideous braying turd-on-legs Nigel Farage and his stupid grinning victory face again I will probably put my fist through the TV.
But I’m writing this because I find it pretty poignant that the final certificate confirming the £2,261.79 I raised running the London Marathon for Mind, arrived in the post today of all days.
I have rarely ever felt so proud, so elated, so optimistic and full of faith in human kindness as on those days I stood outside supermarkets in High Wycombe and Gerrards Cross with my Mind tin collecting coins towards my Marathon fundraising total. People of all ages, backgrounds, genders, races and probably different political stripes came to me to donate, pulling over and fishing their last change from deep inside coat pockets, telling their stories, congratulating me for being there and buying me hot drinks. I raised £400 towards my total and filled both tins.
And, as an Anglo-German, I have never felt sadder, angrier and more unwelcome in Britain than I do today. During those supermarket collections I saw people here at their very best: caring, generous, tolerant. Today I see them at their worst: ignorant, bigoted, short-sighted: where being educated and well-travelled is seen as something to be feared. I am sick, I am numb. Like my mum, I want to cry.
What I would really like right now is to sit down with someone who I know supports Leave and who I know is not a Ukipper or a racist pig and hear them explain themselves. But no-one in that category that I’m aware of is here to do it. All I can do is stand incredulously with the 99% of my friends (many also dual-heritage) who voted Remain and are in bits right now worried about what’s going to happen to their lives and jobs. Thank you very much to those who have sent kind and supportive messages this morning asking after my mum; I know she’ll appreciate it.
When I’ve had enough sleep I’m going to apply for a German passport (mum’s already done it and the soonest available appointment at the Embassy is August FYI). But I’m not leaving here without a fight. I want this country to do what Germany did in 1945 and take a long, hard look at what’s happened to get us here. I’m tied to this area until I’ve passed my driving test, which, as this is me we’re talking about, will be at least another year.
Meanwhile, I will go for a lunchtime run today looking at the passers by and thinking “Which of you doesn’t want me and my mum here?”
And that’s really not a very nice feeling at all.