I realised the other day that I now live in a third country. The birthday card I had sent to my sister in Germany got stuck in customs, and not only arrived 5 days late (despite my sending it 10 days early to account for Brexit!) but had also been opened and the €100 I had put in had been stolen. I realised then that this is now the reality. Things aren’t going to be as before as this island has cut itself off and is adrift.
A good illustration of how and why I now live in a third country is below. The UK’s Brexit strategy has led to it being isolated from the countries around it, floating around in an unhinged manner. This is our reality now. Cut off and flailing.
I found this mock video made by a German TV show. It’s a collection of Boris Johnson’s most clownish moments (e.g. Rugby tackling someone, smashing through a Brexit wall on TV, on a zip wire across the Thames).
The German description is:
Noch epischer, noch teurer und noch dramatischer als “The Crown”: Die Story des Brexits. In der Hauptrolle: Boris Johnson, der virtuos sein Land in den Abgrund reißt.”
This translates to:
More epic, more expensive and more dramatic than ‘The Crown’: The Brexit Story. Starring: Boris Johnson, who’s virtuously tearing his country into the abyss
I thought it was funny! Not just the fact that it was made by the Germans but also how accurately it represents the external global view! The problem with the Tories is they don’t realise that they come across as incompetent and untrustworthy to the rest of the world.
I’m all strapped in now and I think this is a good end to this Brexit diary, which actually I started almost exactly two years ago!
With a video of the foolish PM, fuer den man sich fremdschaemen muss.
Recently, I’ve been putting my Brexit stockpiling experience to good use. I have switched completely to online supermarket shopping as I haven’t left the house in 2 months. Two days ago, I spoke to a neighbour across the back fence, and it was good to know I could still hold a conversation. I had been worried that I would lose all my social skills – but not so! It helps that the sun has been shining.
Someone sent me a WhatsApp photo of them wearing a Coronavirus mask. We don’t have to wear them here yet but as I’m not going out until the end of the year (that’s the plan), I don’t have to worry about it.
I have been trying to switch off from the news for a bit, and today I finished a novel about a miner’s son growing up in Yorkshire, and becoming a teacher. It was long and solemn, but somehow fitting the current mood (in fact it reminded me a bit of Camus’ L’Etranger – the main character was somewhat inaccessible / seemed cold). It was a very good book.
I even have lost all interest in Brexit. It seems like everything is fucked. Someone said to me today the 20s (that is, the 2020s) would be a complete write-off, and I agree!
Italy is in a mess right now. The coronavirus started there on 31 January and the total number of cases leading to death stand at 4,825 today, Saturday 21 March 2020. It is in fact the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus globally.
My (very infrequent) series of blog posts about European countries (it was supposed to be a Brexit diary) suddenly has been interrupted by the impact (smashing into the Earth like an asteroid) of the fucking COVID-19! Which has rendered reality unreal and forced us all into survival mode.
I wanted to get a quick overview of the raw data in relation to the coronavirus in Italy and found a couple of infographics which shed a light. Below are two useful ones that focus on the data and key facts.
I grew up in a small village in Germany and we had no books in the house, other than a couple of Konsalik novels (that no one read) and a Family Health Book with pictures and descriptions of illnesses and diseases and what to do about them.
Where I went to school was quite a touristy region. It looked a little bit like this:
What is good about coming of age in Germany?
I think the wall coming down in 1989 imprinted on me that change is possible, and that chaos creates the conditions for acceleration. The 90s were good too, with a strong alternative scene (non-commercial punk and hardcore bands, squats, solidarity, marches against Neonazis, and so on), and a sense that things were going to get better for all (once the SPD took power in 1998). Germany’s role within Europe is schizophrenic. On the one hand, we are responsible for mass genocide (and were one of the first to use propaganda as a weapon), on the other, we now are a ‘good nation’, sat in the middle of Europe and (economically) one of its success stories.
I never thought much about the bigger picture economy and politics when I was younger. It was more general stuff, being oppressed ‘by the state’ and parents / authorities, marching against Nazis. Loving the world, even while angry about it and feeling raw on the inside.
The best thing about Germany was the rules. Breaking them (when they were too oppressive) and following them (where they made sense). Being taught how to make up my own mind, learning how to think. For free!