The entire neighbourhood is beige and grey, but at the end of the street sits a bright blue house. Who lives there?
Instinct says a bear. Yet, to say a bear would be to rip off someone else’s 20 year old idea, and that would surely put me amongst the beige and grey of the neighbourhood. Who wants to be there?
I don’t think anybody lives in the bright blue house. I imagine inside would be a life of success, joy and community that everybody wants. Every now and then we take our turns to knock on the door, sure. Some press the little white bell on the left hand side, pushing it level with its ring of light as an out of tune, diminishing sound resounds. The button springs back and with it the sound leaps up with hope. Maybe this time we’ll get in. The more hands on among us distrust the technology and go for a traditional knock. Swift, sharp taps on the wood should get us heard, no?
No. The door remains firmly shut.
There are many options at this point. Some shrug their shoulders, back away and retreat towards home – maybe if we get back quick enough no one will notice we even tried. The safety of a life where we don’t push boundaries. Some of us glance around; did anyone see? No? Wonderful. Yes? Crap. Give them a little smile and they’ll give one back, we all know the feeling of standing in front of that door, forever outside and never within. Turn back up the path and back into the grey, side by side with they who watched you fail you walk away.
What about that person constantly running at the door, seemingly held back by a bungee? No matter how hard they run they never seem to get any closer. Do we feel differently about them? Probably not. We’re all in the same boat. Maybe the boat was once bright red and blue, with swirly white writing on the side announcing its name: the United Kingdom! It said. And proud we were.
That pride prevails no longer. Our boat has turned grey and all we can see is a small speck of blue in the distance – don’t kid yourself that we’ll be let back in. And yes I say boat deliberately. Our tiny island is nothing more – a life boat on the Titanic, perhaps, launching itself from a ship still afloat, because it was half full, they argue. Apparently that’s enough for it to launch. Didn’t they needlessly waste lives because Titanic lifeboats did just the same? Those of us who voted to remain in the EU are left without life jackets in the sea. Our life boat is disappearing in the distance (albeit slowly) and the ship dumping us in the water to fend for ourselves. WE made this decision, after all.
Enough of metaphors. They blur things, make them incomprehensible. The UK’s decision to leave the EU still doesn’t seem quite real, but what does is the shame and embarrassment permeating everything we’ve done in the last week. My country is a mess. This country that I used to be proud of for its loyalty, its democracy, its downright weirdness. We’ve fucked ourselves over and the future is falling apart right in front of us. If it wasn’t so tragic it would be funny – we’ve done this to ourselves. Nigel Farage may well be laughing, but he’s about the only one.
The door hasn’t just been locked to Europe, but our economy’s gone to shit and jobs in the City are falling as employers race to leave us behind. I don’t have anything new to say that other people haven’t already said far more eloquently than I ever could. But right now, Britain in the wake of Brexit feels a whole lot like resigning ourselves to that grey street for a long time to come. Maybe the blue door of a brighter and successful future will be easier for us to open one day. Now? It’s been locked and bolted like never before.