My website is called World Hangover. After today’s referendum, thanks to over half of the UK’s votes, the world just got a lot smaller, and a lot darker.
I was planning to move to Berlin this year. Goodbye, Berlin. I was intending to spend the rest of my twenties touring Europe, working and having new experiences and meeting new people. Goodbye, dreams. 27 countries are now off limits, no more right to work, or right to live. A generation that spent their youth holidaying at Skegness have made damn sure that the next one will do the same. Goodbye, cheap airfare. Any extended travelling in exotic countries will now be much more difficult as the pound crashes. Goodbye, exchange rate. Fear, toxic fear spread by the press, has led to this. The drawbridge has been raised. With some vague notion of reducing immigration, without even a rough plan produced, or any indication that we actually could reduce immigration, we’ve barricaded ourselves in and cut off the world that I so badly want to explore. Goodbye, future.
One of my favourite songs is David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, about lovers separated in East and West Berlin. I went to Germany in May, and I saw the Berlin Wall. It’s just a large concrete structure, completely unremarkable, but the division and the oppression it represented made my heart ache. In 1987, Bowie sang ‘Heroes’ by the Wall to a crowd of West Berliners. The music could be heard throughout the city. Crowds gathered to hear the singing beyond the Wall in East Berlin. The performance is said to be one of the turning points in bringing down the Wall, for the great triumph of humanity over regimes seeking to keep us apart. My hairs stood on end thinking of the overwhelming compassion and the incredibly human need for togetherness that brought it down.
Somehow, today feels like the opposite. I’m glad Bowie isn’t alive to see this. I’ve never been so ashamed to be British.