Before you read on, if you know me in real life, you need to know this is me finding writing cathartic and helpful. We aren’t leaving any time soon, we aren’t going anywhere. Please don’t send me panicked messages wondering about what our plans are or worrying that I won’t be there to be your summer holiday childcare this year…
This is me getting things off my chest. It’s my blog, and I occasionally use it for therapeutic reasons.
I am British. I wasn’t born here, but I am the child of a Scottish mother and an English father. I spent my formative school years here, and whilst I have also lived abroad, now, at the age I am at, I have lived here, in the UK for longer than anywhere else. My children are British, with a vague hint of South African because of their half and half genetics on their father’s side, but they are more British than anything else.
I love this country. It’s my home. It’s where I came back to from when we were living abroad. It’s where I live now, and where I work. It is where my children are growing up. It’s beautiful, even if it’s weather is frankly crap. It’s wildly different and not one part of the UK is the same as another. We have amazing beaches, cities, towns, scenery, food (I know some won’t agree but that’s not up for debate right now) and we as a country have, to be frank, survived some tough stuff in the past. I have relatives who fought and died for this country.
I chose to live here. 18 years ago, I was offered the option of moving abroad to work and live. I was tempted. It was kind of what I wanted to do. However, the pull of my home country and the man I loved and wanted to marry kept me here. I don’t regret that.
But now I don’t want to be here any more. I feel powerless in my Britishness. I sit today watching my city, my London, the town that I love most of all, recovering from an uncalled for and brutal attack on people who were doing no harm, going about their business and tonight I see our current Prime Minister using this attack as a political pawn.
I don’t want to live in a country where institutions like our NHS and our education system are being destroyed by politicians who don’t care about ordinary people.
I don’t want to live in a country that has failed to deal with the problem of disenfranchised people who voted for something they didn’t understand and now we all have to deal with the consequences of that vote.
I don’t want to live in a country where we risk being run over, blown up or stabbed by lunatics who hate us simply because our government has made poor choices to get involved with other countries politics and now we face the brunt of that.
I don’t want to live in a country where my ordinary, peaceful Muslim friends feel vilified because madmen are carrying out crimes in the name of their faith, when they don’t support that.
I don’t want to live in a country where we will be snooped on and our internet presence recorded even when we are not terrorist suspects and my every move could be held against me.
I don’t want to live in a country where nurses haven’t had a pay rise in years and some can’t afford to feed their own children but politicians get to claim second home allowances yet tell us our country is doing well financially, when I see families who regularly can’t afford the basics to survive life.
I don’t want to live in a country where whole generations have been dumbed down and told they can’t do anything without being totally reliant on the government for hand outs and help, who are now being forced to face the realities without that and who aren’t coping and a generation of children suffering because of that.
I don’t want to live in a country where people vote because of racism and xenophobia and where people, friends of mine, who have lived and worked here for years, call this country home, but because they weren’t born here, now face a future of uncertainty and I can’t tell them it will be ok, but only apologize and tell them it wasn’t my vote that landed them in this situation.
I don’t want to live in a country where I simply cannot choose between who to vote for because all of the options seem abhorrent and I don’t honestly think any of them have the real interests of people at heart.
I love my country but I am not proud of it anymore. I am sad that my children have to grow up in a place where their future isn’t secure, and where they’ll come out of university with more debt than a deposit on a house is worth.
I don’t have any magic answers. I am not looking for any. I don’t want to be told to cheer up, or that other people face worse (I know they do, I spent ten days working with refugees in Greece last year) but this is my situation and my country I am worried for and I am allowed to feel the way I do. I don’t want to be told to pray harder or have more faith, or to only think of the positive things. I want to be able to say “I am proud I am British” and right now I can’t. I am proud of the people who were so brave last night in London, and last week in Manchester, I am proud of people who serve and support and who prop this country up but they are, to me, it seems fighting a tidal wave, that isn’t going to ease.
I love my country but right now, I am looking at our future and thinking we may seek it elsewhere. I know no place is perfect, every country has it’s problems, but right now I feel desperately sad, and powerless to make any change.
So I write my feelings, and get them out. I know not everyone will agree, I know many will try to tell me I shouldn’t feel this way. I don’t want to be told not to be afraid or not to worry. I simply can’t pretend it’s all fine and ok.
I am allowed to feel this way. I won’t let it fester, but I am allowed to get my feelings out. Simply writing it all down makes me feel better. To just be able to say the things in my head, is helpful.
Feel free to comment but any racist or hate inciting comments will be deleted and their authors will be blocked from this blog. You may feel the same as me, and want to vent, or you may feel the opposite and maybe you will be able to offer me perspective that I currently can’t see.
Thanks for reading. Cats, chaos, children and coffee normal will be back tomorrow… 😉