Yesterday I made another loaf of bread. It takes little more than five minutes preparation with my bread-making machine, and the result in the morning is a delicious nutty brown loaf.
The French of course favour the baguette and the local village boulangerie makes a delicious variant called La viganaise. But buying this means a car trip, albeit short. And baguettes really don’t last for more than a day. Not a problem in a family, but not very practical if you are on your own.
Besides, my favourite meal of the day is breakfast: coffee and toast. My loaf makes better toast than baguettes. I use a multi-ceréales flour (a variety of wheat grains – I’m not a fan of the more virtuous wholemeal flour) and add walnuts and raisins. Yummy result.
Why am I going on about bread? Well for starters it is pouring with rain outside (quelle surprise). And it keeps my mind off the subject which has dominated my thoughts for the past two years and which now makes me feel even more angry and anguished than ever – Brexit.
I’m concerned firstly as someone who chose to live in France and for whom the consequences of what is decided – when it is decided – could change my life, and has already resulted in living with uncertainty.
I’m concerned for the British economy, for which any outcome other than remaining in Europe, will mean we are worse off, maybe much worse off. Businesses will suffer, so too will hospitals, schools, universities, young people seeking employment wider afield… the list is longer.
I’m concerned for this total loss of a sense of belonging to a community (however blemished) which is larger than a nation.
Now what? We are in a complete Alice in Wonderland situation. It is impossible to predict what will be the outcome. I fear the Conservatives will revert to tribal stereotype(even Ken Baker is talking of supporting May!) and fall behind the very bad current deal. (Don’t get me started in the equally messy scene in the Labour Party.)
A couple of days ago Martin Kettle in the Guardian described the dilemma succinctly:
There is no majority for Theresa May’s deal; no majority for a no-deal exit; no majority for a Norway-type option; no majority for a second referendum and no majority for a general election. Politically, there seems no way out.
I keep hoping, even at this dangerously late stage, that we will go for a second referendum. It cannot be assumed that this time round the Remainers would win, but a second referendum offers a chance to limit the damage done by the ill-advised and very badly drafted first one (whose campaign was so full of misinformation and downright lies and whose outcome incidentally, people quickly forgot, is not legally binding). Whatever happens now, damage is done. We have polarised positions and angry people. I feel pessimistic about repair to these wounds in my lifetime.
Oh, and if there is a second referendum, I – along with all other Brits who have lived in Europe for more than 15 years – will not have a vote.