I’m writing this while visiting blighty, although it’ll only be posted once I’ve returned to civilisation.
I’ve been looking for evidence of civil tension following the brexit vote. I’ve heard quite a few comments in various newsgroups online that such tension exists, and wanted to see for myself.
So far, I’ve seen no real evidence of tension so far. However, I’ve made no effort to find it. I’ve only visited family, where I don’t want to cause any tension, and internationalist friends whose politics are, unsurprisingly, not parochial.
There was one incident that could well have been an example of the post–brexit anger, but could have been something else. I visited a pharmacy to try and find a British equivalent of a French product I use. After I had described the type of product what I wanted, the assistant asked me what product I used now. I told her, giving the French name. She walked off. She gave no explanation, no excuse, she simply walked away. It is plausible that she didn’t understand the French description, felt stupid for not doing so, and has ego problems, so walked away. I fear it is as likely that she suffers from brexit anger and walked away because I accidentally challenged her by speaking a couple of words of French. Whatever, she was extremely rude. Her boss stepped in and answered my question, which is why I am not naming the company in question. I suspect her boss addressed her bad behaviour later.
The real test of attitudes in the UK will come in the last part of my holiday. My final destination is a seaside town where I’m meeting an old friend whose politics I no longer know. I may have the chance to talk to locals too. I may be able to assess the tension without risking family trauma or wedding blues. We’ll see.
Anyway, even if things are relatively calm now, despite the reports, this will change as the brexit economic disaster unfolds. That will take months, if not years, to really bite. All one sees now economically is indications of bad things coming.
UPDATE: I visited the coast. Everything on the surface seems ok, but I did not discuss Brexit. I did, however, discuss discussing Brexit, if you see what I mean, and things do not feel so good. Having said that, the UK never did feel that good, hence my departure, but it’s got worse. Whether that’s enough to indicate real problems to come is something I can’t tell.