Democratic Bereavement

Thoughts for our US friends, from the “sneering liberal elite” (as apparently we now are) of the UK. We’re a few months ahead of you in trying to work out why our country has taken the ‘Samson’ route of pulling down the temple whilst standing inside it (there will be more on that), and we’re starting to see how the stages of bereavement from principle and reason play out. This isn’t entirely serious – it’s a play on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s long-discredited model for the stages of grief,  nor is the language safe for those of a nervous disposition but, for all that, it’s been well received…

1. Waking up to that feeling of What. The. Actual. F… …U… …C… …K…?. That’s exactly as it should be: you’ve just had your lifelong core values and what you thought you understood about your own nation kicked forcibly into the long grass. By your fellow citizens.

2. Displacement: Allow yourself the, “You dribbling fuckwits” stage, where you flail around the house and the cat hides.

3. Protest. Quite a lot. Make up heartfelt, witty and ironic placards and wave them about, physically or electronically. It won’t achieve much, but you’ll feel better and you’ll be in good company.

4. Make fantastical speculation about towing England, bar London, Oxford and Cambridge (and other bastions of reason), out to sea and leaving it to sink slowly in the west, whilst the rest of us sail off into a happy European future, led by the Greater Celtic Federation of Scotland and Ireland.*

5. Reflection: Think. Realise that there are Things that actually Can Be Done, and list them. Choose which of them you have the energy to engage with.

6. Reach a place of transcendent Zen calm. For about ten minutes, until it all comes crowding back in.

7. Get angry again. This time, not the inchoate, helpless fury you’ve felt until now. This is the cold, logical, focussed determination of people who are going to get things done.

8. Listen. And not just to those who already agree with you. And understand

9. Organise. Talk.  Build teams and alliances. Encourage others. Get everyone to focus on what they’re best at. And keep the moral high ground (hint: firebombing Starbucks doesn’t qualify and is probably an over-reaction to even their godawful coffee).

10. Then Act, without fear or favour: don’t be afraid of disrupting the status quo, vested interests or your Great Aunt Marge.

11. Above all, DON’T PANIC. Well, maybe, just a little, at first.

* This was written in the context of Brexit. Feel free to substitute in “The West Coast Federation” and “The Great North-Eastern Alliance” as you see fit.

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