A Stranger In A Strange Land

Blogging as a temporary expat has its advantages: you can be dispassionate, give a good overview and have time to track back to find the reasons for any given situation. Spain was meant to be a five year sojourn at the most but, in the event, it was four years too many. Those years did me a favour though; they gave me the time to investigate and blog so, all in all, I wouldn’t say they were wasted.

Coming home, I find I’m a stranger in a strange land, moreso than I was in Spain. I’m just English and of no particular consequence. Time after time I walk around the Broadway (sadly, no carajillos, yachts or people-watching) and, perhaps I just choose the wrong time of day, but all I hear are Eastern European accents. I’ve also had a few Amazon deliveries since I’ve been back and very few of the couriers have had English as a first language. The last chap just grunted as he handed me the small pc to sign. If it weren’t for those Latvian cheekbones I’d have sworn he’d been an extra in Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part 1.

Not only have the people in the neighbourhood changed but politics has changed too. It’s more overt than it was when I left in 2005. I did have secret hopes that when I returned Blair would be gone and all would be back to ‘normal’ but, sadly, not so. Brown, Cameron and whoever comes next will all say the same things, mouth the same platitudes, use similar spin doctors, listen to the same lobby groups and take the same instructions from the EU while our own voices are ignored.  To paraphrase: The government is not for turning.

Like a child pestering a busy and negligent parent we tug on the government’s shirt sleeve and say, “Hey, don’t forget about me,” and the parent looks down, pats the child on the head and says, “There, there, everything will be fine in a minute…just give me a minute…” And we do; we go back to watching CBBC or counting our toes and we give them all the time in the world in which to fulfill their promises, to improve society in the way we’d like it to be improved. They’re listening, of course they are, and they’ll sort everything out once they have time.

All this Big Society and e-petitions is a scam; it’s a lie; it’s an illusion. It’s offered by a government in the pocket of someone else who views us as an impediment, an obstruction to their plans.

I don’t care if people think I’m a fruit-loop. I talk facts while politicians deal in truths – their truths; the BBC’s truths; the media’s truths. They tell us what the truths are and we’re supposed to respond with gratitude, all the while keeping our own truths to ourselves. This has to stop. We must stop playing their game of pretend. The three main political Parties in this country offer nothing for us. There’s no change of direction; no repeal of laws which are an anathema to most of us; no drawing back of the powers of local authorities.  It’s time for the English to re-discover their stroppy nature. The government says it wants to know what ‘Englishness’ is and it’s time we reminded them.

“Those people just ain’t your friends”:


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