Close to Europe


This is a big day.

I have just returned from a polling station where I had to place a cross in one of two boxes. A very simple task, but one with a very big implication.

Depending on the results of my vote and the vote of millions of others today, Britain will either remain in the EU or decide to go it alone.

Ironically enough, I am also getting on a plane later today to fly to a European destination and will wake up there tomorrow morning to learn our fate.

When I moved back to England from Australia 4 years ago, one of the key factors on the positive side of the ledger – my version of ‘Leave’ I guess – was the UK’s proximity to Europe.

Having such a wide range of vastly different geographies and cultures right on my doorstep was a major plus and with air travel now so inexpensive and accessible a world of short haul travel opportunities beckoned.

And so it has turned out.

Without trying too hard I have been to France, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Italy and Monaco over the last 4 years. Oh, and of course Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Before the year is out I will have added Croatia, Poland and Belgium to the list.

Each destination fascinating in its own right and unique.

Tomorrow morning, those countries will all still be there and planes will continue to shuttle passengers to them from Britain’s many airports, but our relationship with them will have changed.

Regardless of how the vote turns out, a large proportion of the population will find a decision has been taken that is against what they voted for. That is how a democratic society operates, after all.

The lead up to the referendum has been fascinating. So many claims and counter-claims that it is hard for the average person to work out what is really for the best.

But despite the best efforts of social media to present the choice as the usual good versus evil narrative, in reality there are strong arguments on both sides.

My main concern is that these competing narratives have become increasingly divisive and whichever side wins will have a big task ahead to mend bridges and reunite our nation, whether that be within or outside the EU.

But whatever happens, I believe that Britain will remain a proud and vibrant part of the European community, even if our political ties are severed.

I’m off to the airport now, but wondering whether I will be flying back to a European country or not in a few days time.


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