Friday, June 24, 2016

Viewing Brexit from Brittany

I left the boat at around 0530, French time, to catch two trains and a bus to take me to our car in Roscoff, and then drive it back to Redon. I hoped that if I left early it would be easier for Sam to cope with my absence as he could just sleep for mcuh of the time – although in fact he says he didn't sleep much :(

It was already evident when I left that the Leave vote was winning. I walked though the streets of Redon at dawn with tears in my eyes, grieving for the damage to our relationship with the French (and the rest of Europe of course), and for the division between the Leave and Remain camps in Britain. Already Brexit was the lead in most of the French newspapers on sale at the station.

I caught a TGV to Rennes, a regional train to Morlaix and a bus to Roscoff. It was noticeable that the part of Brittany facing Britain was cool, grey and slightly depressing, although the south had been clear and already warming up in the early morning sun.

On my drive back, the GPS initially took me towards Rennes because I was thinking of a brief visit to Ikea. However, when I spoke to Sam on the phone I worried that he was rather cross and needed me back urgently, so I told the GPS to take me straight to Redon. It took me across country on the sort of roads that used to make up driving in France when I was a child - D-roads across valleys and through forests, through the middle of small villages and medieval towns, and for much of the way with little other traffic around.

And every single thing I have looked at, all day, has made me regret more that the English have chosen to sever their links with their neighbours, allies and friends in Europe.

Whatever the long-term outcome, this has been a bitter and unpleasant campaign. I do have friends in the Leave camp, but I may find it more difficult to respect their views on all sorts of things in future. For me, a vote for Leave was a vote for selfishness rather than generosity, narrow self-interest rather than broad collaboration, and the past rather than the future. And staying at home rather than travelling extensively or working abroad, presumably.

We now have to consider what to do with Kalessin. Once EHIC arrangements come to an end, if they do, I'm not sure if we can risk taking Sam sailing in Europe because travel insurance for him is either unobtainable or prohibitively expensive. He currently has an "EHIC top-up" policy which pays for repatriation but not much else, on the basis that healthcare in France (or wherever) is affordable to us as EU citizens. This may be an argument for leaving Kalessin here for at least one more season, because however fast Gove & co move with Article 50, presumably EHIC will still work for at least one more summer.

Damn, damn, damn. What a sad day.


Yasmin Yexley said...

A very sad day. Where do we go from here? I have been appalled and shocked and worried and ashamed all day.
I think for now I will focus on Tristan. He makes sense.
I do hope you can keep Kalessin and keep sailing.

Tim Brook said...

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth here too... Margaret was following all night and broke the fearful news at around 04.00. She spat feathers at me too, over brunch and I was regretted not being able to teleport a few 'responsible' politicians to the table...