Lancashire Evening Post: I Want My Country Back

Sometime in the future, a long-since retired Theresa May will be found in a supermarket aisle clutching a packet of biscuits and squealing, “biscuits mean biscuits!”

It has begun at pace. The panicked looking government ministers, the endless newspaper speculation and Andrew Marr only just restrained against ripping his own head off on national television.

The ‘brexit’ carnival is in full swing and nothing is certain. Even the clowns, driven into exile and forced to be a jolly addition to a children’s party have found a safe place to be their true, sinister, selves on the streets of Lancashire.

It doesn’t end with the freeing of the clowns. The cracks are there for all to see. While the pound plummets, so does our sense of who we are.

Just yesterday, I walked a narrow path with a whimsical whistle and a spring in my step, a fellow walker came towards me and we both lurched in the same direction to pass. We stopped and shifted our bodies in the other direction, but again we mimicked each other’s move. What came next was a sorry sight to behold. Not a laugh or a chuckle, not even a knowing glance. The man tutted and frowned and barged his way past. How could he depart with the British values of an awkward laugh and the unnecessary festival of apologising to each other?

Last week, as I made my way through the town centre, a businessman approaching a gathering of pigeons caught my attention. Standard procedure should follow, you’d imagine; a slowing of pace, a measured assessment of the situation and a muted yet very obvious flinch of the face and body as the pigeons scatter and fly up around him. Yet this man did not engage pigeon flinch face. Not even a slowing pace. I watched on, paralysed with shock as this man strolled through the scattering pigeons with an Italian-like bravado, not seen in Lancashire in my lifetime.

Even people I thought I knew well have faded. Whilst having dinner with friends last weekend, an endearingly young and hapless waiter let a stack of plates slip from his grasp and cause an earth shuddering crash to the ground. I held on a beat before letting out the formal cry of, “whaay!” I even elevated an arm; such was my delight at an opportunity to revel in an age-old tradition. My fellow diners? Silence. Embarrassed and shaken, I felt an alien in my own skin.

As I write this column, I find myself perched in a café at Manchester Airport Terminal 3, my coffee is rippled by the rumbling of an aircraft every couple of minuets. Yet, not one person has pointed to the sky and declared, “Oooh! That’ll be us soon!” It’s as if they simply don’t care anymore. Such a blasé approach to the concept of aviation flies in the face of everything we have been brought up to believe, if you’ll excuse the pun.

It is a tragic reflection of the state of play and, frankly, I want my country back.

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By Darryl Morris

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