I’m at Arlanda, downing a storstark before my flight back to a UK I scarcely now recognise, thrown into utter confusion by the stupidity – yes, stupidity – that is Brexit. I was planning to write a piece on that stupidity, until I spotted this New Statesman essay by a leading economist that says just about everything I wanted to, and much better than I could. Why waste effort on something when someone else has done it for you? Read it; it’s very good.
He’s right about foreigners, by the way. The Swedes I now live amongst are too polite to call us Brits stupid – politesse is part of the Swedish character – but you know that’s what they feel underneath. And sorrow, for a country and a people they’ve generally rather liked.
I’ve always felt a little bit embarrassed to be British here, mainly because of the Empire (which I feel they don’t really understand); but now I feel nationally mortified, even, by being associated with the likes of Bojo, Govey, Moggy and Farage. My Swedish friends are very kind. ‘It’s OK, Bernard. We know it’s not your fault. Here, have an aquavit.’ Still, are the Brexiteers fully aware of the damage they’ve done to Britain’s reputation in Europe? Little Englanders that they are, do they even care?