A few days ago, I overheard my daughter and her friends talk about secondary schools, unsurprisingly, as they’re in their last term of primary school and getting ready to move on.
‘Some schools make trips to Europe,’ one of my daughter’s friends said, excitedly.
‘I’d love to go to Europe,’ said another, at which point I could not keep quiet and much to my daughter’s embarrassment, chimed in,
‘But we are in Europe, girls.’
‘Not for long,’ quipped one girl.
‘Listen,’ I said, exasperated, ‘even if Britain leaves the European Union, it will still be part of Europe, geographically at least.’
No one said anything. I’d killed the conversation.
But it had me worried about what British children learn in geography and history classes across the country. Driving to school the other morning, therefore, I lectured at length to my daughters about Britain’s historical, geographical and cultural place in Europe. I bet they were relieved when we finally arrived at school and they got out of the car as fast as they could.
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m an ardent Remainer, although not because I love the European Union especially (I don’t), but because I can’t see how Britain would, in any way, shape or form, be better off post-Brexit. I’m also an awfully liberal person who believes that immigration is a force for good and an EU citizen myself, I have made England my home, and I won’t be told I don’t belong here. I may never be British although I’ve married into a British family and have two British daughters, after living in London for almost nineteen years, I am a Londoner, dammit.
Speaking of which, I did vote in today’s local elections. Having opted in favour of postal voting, I effectively cast my ballot weeks ago, so it felt a little strange this morning not to be joining my husband at the polling station. I did make sure he got there, though.
‘You need to vote strategically,’ a friend implored me last month, which is another way of saying that any vote cast in favour of a party other than Labour and the Conservatives is a wasted ballot. Even though I knew he was right, I just had to vote with my conscience, even if that meant my vote didn’t count for anything.
And no, I didn’t simply vote for the party who promised to fix the crater-sized potholes in my neighbourhood – I didn’t have to, because miraculously, shortly after I posted a blog about potholes last month, the council started filling them up. I wonder what would happen if I blogged about the dismal quality of street cleaning in my borough…
As a foreign resident in London, I can not only vote in local elections but, as I recently discovered, I can run for local office as well. Although I’m no friend of party politics, the thought of running for office tempts my ego I must admit. Wouldn’t that be fun?