We’re All Mad Here

Armed with six passports (my kids have dual citizenship) and a flimsy piece of blue paper documenting my status as a legal alien, we left Britain on a chilly April morning, heading south towards Tenerife, my family’s favourite home away from home.

With an overactive mind that is prone to anxiety, I don’t usually do relaxation and vacationing very well, but tasked with no serious decision making other than having to choose between the beach and the pool I managed to switch off sufficiently to enjoy the pleasure of doing nothing.

Being a news junkie, however, I couldn’t resist the urge to check the news on my phone a few times a day, just in case, something earth-shatteringly important had happened in the world while I lay basking in the sun. Thankfully, with the latest threat of a no-deal Brexit temporarily averted,  there was blissfully little newsworthy about Brexit, a fact that further aided my relaxation. Instead, I gorged myself on articles covering the other subject, aside from Brexit, that keeps me up at night: climate change.

‘Did you know,’ I said to my husband who was lying on the sun lounge next to me, ‘dying of heat is apparently excruciatingly painful, worse than dying from hypothermia.’

‘Mmm,’ my husband answered, too busy worshipping the sun to bother feigning interest in his wife’s ramblings.

‘As temperatures rise, people will practically be burned alive,’ I continued, shuddering at the prospect.

Given that my ideal weather is 15 degrees Celsius and drizzling rain, the relatively mild 23 degrees in Tenerife already felt like a hot oven to me.

As much as I enjoyed the holiday, I was surprisingly happy to return to my dysfunctional adopted homeland ten days later, but the feeling didn’t last long. As soon as the Easter bunny was well and truly gone, the Brexit monster re-appeared, devouring everything of importance in its way, and my mood sank.

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Writing in the Guardian, Hannah Jane Parkinson suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that the farcical list of British MEP candidates put forth by Britain’s political ‘elite’ was turning her into a Brexiteer only to save Britain from further humiliation. I’m prone to agree with her. If staying in the EU means Britain will be represented in Brussels by people such as UKIP’s Carl Benjamin, famous for making less than funny rape jokes about female MPs, and whose racist beliefs are well documented on YouTube, then I’d rather we left the Union straight away.

Not to mention the cartoon-like characters fielded by Nigel Farage’s latest enterprise, the Brexit Party; an unhinged Ann Widdecombe and Annunziata Rees-Mogg, the younger sister of the other Rees-Mogg. There’s also Change UK’s most recent recruit, Rachel Johnson, whose tendency to switch party affiliation like she switches jobs (she was first a member of the Conservatives, like her brothers, before she defected to the Lib Dem in 2017) says all you need to know about the strength of her political convictions.

The last thing we need is Brexit becoming a pawn in some drawn out, infested sibling rivalry. As a younger sister with a successful older brother, I completely understand the urge to get back at your know-it-all sibling, but for goodness sake, keep it in the family!

While the main protagonists in the latest chapter of the Brexit farce ran around screaming like a bunch of spoiled brats on an Easter egg hunt, a 16-year old Swedish girl arrived in London to offer a much-needed adult perspective on what really matters in the world. Addressing members of the British parliament, Greta Thunberg Tehran didn’t mince her words as she called them out on their fake numbers and empty promises.

In an era increasingly governed by fake news and alternative facts, it’s becoming all too apparent that if it is wisdom, common sense, empathy and leadership we want, we have to look to the younger generations. For it is people like Greta Thunberg and the thousands of children across the world she’s inspired, as well as Malala Yousafzai, and the high school students of Parkland, Florida, to name but a few, who offer us hope for a saner, more just and sustainable future.

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