Rosie's Brexit Diary 28 Feb 2018 Part 2

My rabbit is dying - is Britain dying too?

Penny is my lovely grey rabbit. Penny Rabbit has had an ear infection for over a year now. She has had antibiotics but with no benefit and there is nothing else the vet can do for her - and so I wipe away the pus every day and make her comfortable. She still hops around the kitchen and eats all the thistles and dandelion leaves that I give her with enthusiasm, but she is quieter by the day and spends longer asleep and I fear she will leave me soon, that she will die.

 

This morning, as usual, I clean her up and then sit down with her on the kitchen floor while she does her rabbit things and from time to time comes up to my hand to be stroked. Sitting there, quietly watching Penny Rabbit, I mull over the recent conversations at The Daily Telegraph.

Superficially, for many of us, all seems more-or-less as normal in Britain, in our daily lives. But are our traditions and lifestyle also sick? Is our society, just like my rabbit, dying?

 

Democracy, justice, freedom of speech, safety, education, truth, expertise, the landscape, humour, creativity, financial stability, the basics of life such as nutritious food, enough water for homes and for industry, and flood control - are the authorities bothered any longer? Or is the question of who uses which toilet the only thing they concern themselves with? Many of my friends and neighbours - if they will talk - are so desperately, despairingly worried about life in Britain, and as I sit here on the floor, the complaints and the anxieties well up in my mind and jostle for attention.

 

Christianity arrived early in Britain. The values embedded within Christianity of honesty, justice, hard work, patience, freedom, charity, of both individual and collective responsibility, humility, and the search for truth have enabled and underpinned this nation’s quite extraordinary list of good achievements and its positive global legacy. Such a statement is the simple truth and should be uncontroversial. Simple, factual, honest truth, except that these days our leaders spend their time debasing themselves on the world stage and behaving as if the British people are the worst scum of the earth ever to have had the misfortune (for everyone else) to have lived. They bid us believe that the entire rest of the world hates us, and hates the indigenous population of this land - many of our youngsters have absorbed this belief; not youngsters as such, because anyone under the age of about 50 seems to be vulnerable to believing such lies.

 

It was Britain which invented democracy. And conservation. And Trading Standards (with enforcement). Animal welfare standards, with enforcement. Britain launched almost every global charity and even invented nearly every international sport, yet another legacy of the British Empire. Under the Empire, the British brought the transatlantic Slave Trade to an end and we used our own gunboats to enforce its abolition (even though that meant that we had to divert resources from war against France under Napoleon.) Unless Britain has lost her soul, we do not need the EU nor anyone else to tell us how to do these things; but there, of course, is the rub. Have we lost our soul? Is that what has happened?

 

And - what the hell has happened to British competence and expertise? Apparently we now need France and China to build our nuclear power stations. HS2 has already cost £10,000,000,000 and none of it has yet been built. We no longer own or operate our utilities. We need to rob the world of the doctors and nurses that other nations trained at their own expense because we no longer educate our own young - and this is supposed to be a good thing, open borders and all that.

 

Sigh - no - I am not trying to pretend British people are anything other than deeply flawed just as is every other person who ever has lived - but - but we have done well and deserve to respect ourselves.

 

Sigh - and, no - I am not idealising the past. But our past, Britain’s past, had much of great value and our unique culture should be respected and maintained because it has proved its worth to the world.

 

Is it too late for Britain? Many of my friends believe so but I have a near-endless supply of optimism and I am certain, I know from the bottom of my heart, that it is not, not quite, too late. If only a leader would step forward. But where is such a leader? We cannot wait much longer. Sadly, I look back again at my rabbit, my lovely Penny Rabbit. She nuzzles my hand again, “I am still here” she seems to say.

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