As a stoic Mancunian, I stagger through the sodden winter streets of Nedlands, Western Australia. My flimsy umbrella no match for the deluge, I take shelter in Morgan Marks clothing store. There is a sale on. Conversations unfold.
What brings you here? Where are you from? And the clincher…..What is happening in the UK? I have been asked this question many times since leaving Heathrow Airport on July 4 for Hong Kong, en route to Australia: by residents at the peaceful Jen Hotel; by a Law applicant to UCL, at the Transit Interchange at Admiralty; and now by this group of interested Australian women, keen to share stories about aberrant politicians.
Since the early hours of June 24, a post Referendum gloom has shrouded me. I have been in mourning for the idiosyncratic Britain I thought I knew: the ‘cultural cacophony’ of my second city, London; the roars that filled the Olympic Stadium in 2012, for British–Somalian Mo Farah. Disaffection, disenfranchisement and disengagement seemed to have prevailed.
Yet on this damp Australian morning I reply, ‘There’s more that holds us together than (more…)