The tur­moil cre­ated by the vote for Brexit goes deep into the soul

The Herald Magazine - - WINNERS - FIDELMA COOK

PHO­TO­GRAPH: ROBERT PERRY

SO here I am in my French field. The si­lence is con­stant apart from the odd bird­call or the trac­tor that moves along the two roads that tran­sect us.

When I say us, of course, I mean the dog and me. There is no other.

The odd car goes by, as does the post­mistress, and oc­ca­sion­ally there is the TNT van to de­liver my books and wine.

We are on “friends” sta­tus now and ask each other how we’re do­ing. As if ei­ther of us re­ally care. But, you know, it’s a touch­stone.

The dog, poor soul, is far more ex­cited than me to greet the de­liv­ery man he’s got to know. He doesn’t know that many peo­ple in our rather lim­ited life.

I, though, of course, have an­other life he can­not en­ter – the in­ter­net.

And so while he chases the cars that do pass by our field I en­ter life… not a real life in terms of touch or speech, but the clos­est I can come to it these days.

Be­fore me on my screen I watched al­most three-quar­ters of a mil­lion peo­ple march in Lon­don for a peo­ple’s vote.

I saw them pour through the streets with ban­ners pro­claim­ing a love of united na­tions, where free­dom of move­ment was a right.

And my heart filled with joy at all those who de­fied a sul­lied ref­er­en­dum and shouted out to Par­lia­ment that cheat­ing was not, and never should be, ac­cept­able.

As those tired peo­ple made their way home, I, who hadn’t moved beyond my com­puter, felt vin­di­cated that right had tri­umphed over per­fidy.

Among those march­ing were those from all over “main­land” Europe – those Bri­tons who have made France, Spain, Por­tu­gal and all those other coun­tries their home.

Thanks to Brexit, they now risk be­ing third coun­try aliens; overnight il­le­gals forced to prove res­i­dency via nu­mer­ous, dif­fi­cult doc­u­ments.

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