If you prefer your blogs apolitical and vitriol-free, you might skip this post. Because although I am calmer than I was when the vote came in, I am still upset.
I am upset because this vote is representative of the Britain I knew. That is a massive problem, because I am from the 1830s—a time when London hated me for my Jewish ethnicity, actively blocked immigrants from anything other than back-breaking labour, and openly, violently attacked difference in the streets.
I am upset because this vote is isolationist. The second England aggressively conquered half the world, subjugating people of color to our thirst for markets, raw materials, and free labour, we forfeit our right to isolationist policy. No, the hospitals and railroads we built do not even the score.
I am upset because we left the empire in state of disarray, full of power vacuums, decimated populations, and depleted land, and then complained when those people we harmed wanted to come to our shores to heal and make lives for themselves.
I am upset because this vote is indicative of a wider, harder, scarier conservatism than I have ever seen—a backwards-looking, white-washing, opportunity-closing terror.
And most of all, I am upset because I thought that England would be better by now. I thought it would be a place of apology, acceptance, and reassurance. I thought it would be multi-cultural, unique, and expressive. I thought if one good thing could come of the empire, it would be mobilisation and exploration of sameness.
But instead, I find myself faced with an England that is dying from within, expelling the very people who could give it life. An England that rejects orders and aid from outside, while turning around and spewing rhetoric of control at Scotland and Ireland and Wales. An England that has lost its sense of self.
An England that is a fucking cruel joke at the expense of the people who voted to remain, the children who expected to have European mobility, the poor souls subject to deportation.
If any good can come of this, it is as a cautionary tale to America—your Boris, your Nigel, is running for president, and you must stop him. You must stop him from turning your country into a hateful, exclusionary, and just…sad, sad place.
[Back to posts on ghosts, family, and fashion in two weeks, provided the world doesn’t further implode between now and then.]