It was a nice day on Tuesday. A very nice day. A public holiday. The sky was clear and the sun was shining. Some were working. I was. More on that below. But in an idle moment ... . There are few better ways to be idle and indulge the idleness of moments than being idle on Facebook. 'Tis the habitat of the idle. Where do people find time? I know. They don't work. I was glad they weren't on Tuesday. They had posted lots of nice photos. Pictures of blue skies. Blue seas. Sandy sand. Mountains with blue skies. Pools with blue in the background. Not a cloud to be seen. Right moment for a beer. Right moment for a cheeky sunbathe. Right moment for a touch of tapas. And there were the tapas. On a table set against a blue background.
As I stared into this wallpaper of blueness, I thought of some imaginary character in, oh I don't know, let's say it was Macclesfield. Nothing against Macclesfield. It was a place. Could have been anywhere. This character was labouring over some tedious spreadsheet calculations in a tedious office in a tedious street with the rain lashing down. Let's call him, I don't know, Bob. In an idle moment, Bob logged onto Facebook. Bob has a friend who goes to Mallorca. The friend had been sharing. Bob was looking at a wallpaper of blueness. Later, right on five o'clock, Bob grabbed his coat and braced himself for the rain that was still lashing down. An evening of pie and chips and "Eastenders" for Bob. An evening like most others. He watched the news. There was this report. From sunny Spain. In my imaginary Bob world, Bob was hearing about the plight of British foreign residents who might, some time later this year, be about to be turfed out of Spain. Bob watched with keen interest. Then he started to laugh. He laughed and laughed and laughed. Before going to bed, Bob went on Facebook. He found one of those photos of blueness. He didn't like. Instead, he fired off a comment. "Not for much longer. Ha ha ha. (Smiley emoticon)."
You could understand Bob being like this. All those photos taken by people doing nothing. Blue, blue and more blue. Serves 'em right. They turned their backs on lashing rain and tedium. Now it's going to be payback time. Here's my vote. Leave, leave, leave. Ha ha ha. That's stuffed you.
Britain. Land of birth and all that. Holder of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Passport. "Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State Requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary." Pass freely. Atop the bit on the front in gold lettering are the words "European Union". Here's something else they might not have thought about.
It seems like a war. A nation divided. A nation that is hostage to its past. Caught up, unwittingly, unwillingly and uncertainly, are the nation's foreign legion. So, it doesn't have the vote (some of it). Tough luck, sucker. You made the choice. The foreign legion is on the end of indifference allied with Expatophobia, an intense dislike of those who had escaped Macclesfield on a filthy day in March. The attitudes, the vitriol, the contempt expressed by some who appear content for the foreign legion to be the victims of war. Refugees. Where is the spirit of British tolerance, once famed and admired by those from Europe who sought their own refuge over many, many years, escaping the persecutions of religious and political wars and hatreds on the continent? Disappearing with the new-age era of hysterical intolerance fired from across the twenty miles that kept the nation safe but also enabled those fleeing intolerance to find safe haven. But amidst this intolerance is envy. That is what the Bobs feel, if they were to admit it. As they cannot, they delight in schadenfreude. An ironic sentiment, given that it is borrowed from another nation who some can never forgive for having supplanted the once great nation as a world industrial power and for having been the creators of the monster that grew to be Brussels. What's more they did it in collaboration with the French. How could they, the French? After all that was done for them.
But for Bob and the other Bobs, just to let you know. The foreign legion comes in different guises. There's blue and there's blue. Yes, I can look out at the blue and be thankful I can, but I work. Every single day. Just as others work every single day. And those who don't. Why should their retirements or lifestyles be denied them? Schadenfreude is a German word.