I don’t think that at any time in my life I have felt so physically depressed by the world. Gutted, sickened, powerless.
For the last few months I have been waking up each day to remember that Brexit does mean Brexit. There is the glimmer of hope with the High Court ruling, but I fear that the Remainers won’t get their act together and Theresa May will find a way out. It is not just the effect on my personal life – plummeting pound and uncertain future in France – it is the thought of all those people disaffected from political life, turning in on themselves, hating and fearing the outside.
Now there is the even more hideous possibility that Trump might win. And even if he doesn’t, again, there are those millions of Americans spurred on by racism, xenophobia, misogyny, alienation and violence. I have an American friend here who is pulling her hair out in anguish.
And then there are Syria, and Palestine, Putin, the rise of the Right everywhere in Europe, and climate change…….
Yesterday, as a small gesture of the remaining ability to change one’s own destiny, I went to the sous-prefecture in le Vigan (the sub-office of the departmental administrative office) to ask for the papers required in order to become a French national – only to be told I would have to go to Nîmes. So that will now have to wait several months, until I am out of hospital. Yeah, I know there is the spectre of the Front National hovering over France, but at least (assuming I can have dual nationality) I would be able to continue to live here and to have a carte vitale (health card – passport to my never-ending treatments).
Last week I said to some good friends that I felt myself European rather than British. Yes, said the husband, they could understand this, given that I have lived much of my life outside Britain (or more specifically England). But having always lived in France (in the Cévennes and in Paris) he felt a strong attachment to all things French and felt less of a European than I did. A gentle but salutary reminder to consider how people feel about their country. I have perhaps a much reduced sentiment of loyalty to a particular country – which is not the same thing as the intense sense of attachment I have to my cultural and personal roots in Britain.
Regardless of nationality issues, the human race is in a hell of a mess.