THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Thank you, Nigel Farage
The state of the nation and the world

Reflections on Brexit

The smug élites squirm still but I have no doubt the deed will be done. Their talk of buyer's remorse irritates. It is as untrue as everything else these congenital liars have said in the course of the campaign and has the same taint of condescension. Yet nothing can quash my delight. I have not smiled so much for so long in decades.

Even as I earnestly reassure my confused friends from the other side of the Channel that (a) this doesn't mean we hate them, (b) my fellow-citizens are not the near-Nazis the BBC and Guardian would have them believe and (c) the markets will soon confirm my confidence that Britain will be better off without the strangulation of the burgeoning bureaucratic superstate, my cheesy grin says more than my words.

I am coming to realise that Brexit has a special meaning for me. It's natural for a long term expat to have trouble reassimilating when returning home. In 20 years Britain had changed. I returned to a land far stranger to me than the exotic places I had lived and worked. This was compounded by my moving to London, where I had worked and socialised before but never lived full time. And by my socialising, inevitably, with a particularly prosperous portion of the capital's population. These were the people who had done well in the UK I had lived away from. Whatever it had become was fine and dandy with them.

Much as I have loved studying and practising my photography since I gave up full-time work, the tutors and fellow students incline to an arty-farty, lefty Luvvie-ness that excludes me. At times, I have felt like a member of a defeated tribe living politely amongst his conquerors.

So a very literal alienation then; feeling like an alien in my own nation. An alienation I made worse by giving up my blog and its supportive community of like-minded people. I had begun to hold my tongue in company on the assumption that I was so far away from the zeitgeist, so out of touch with modern Britain, that my views would amuse more than persuade. One friend delighted in assembling Guardianisti around his table and then winding me up to shock them; like some imperialist grandee amusing his guests by seating a savage amongst them.

I could only really be myself with my provincial family and visiting friends from the countries I had worked in. This made me feel older than I am and sadder than my optimistic nature inclines me to be. I had begun to think of myself as heading towards life's exit. I was not taking care of my health or diet because I was not thinking of my future.

The referendum campaign raised hopes that I was not alone. Until the very last moment however I believed Remain would win. Dining out on the night of the poll, I told my companion I was distraught at the prospect of defeat and didn't know how I would cope without the hope the campaign had brought.

And then came the result. It turns out my smug, metropolitan friends are the ones out of touch with the zeitgeist. It turns out the greatest number of voters in British history agreed with me on a key issue. It turns out this country is, after all my doubts, where I belong.

I don't know how the result touched you, gentle reader, but for me it was a welcome home.

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