Told You

I’ve been jabbed. Sore arm, bit of a headache, relief. A murky fear of long-term, unknown side effects still lingers but hey, I’ve asked no questions throughout entire summers spent drinking litres of phenylalanine dipeptide so why start now? Some Brexiteers in the vaccination queue waved their virtual victory flags while comparing EU and UK roll-out speeds. This graceless Told you – the assertion that we’d be waiting until Christmas to be inoculated if Remain had won - was theirs for the taking. No-one mentioned the irony that we were being injected with German (Pfizer) molecules rather than British (AstraZeneca), nor that our nation’s self-righteous sense of ‘freedom’ was one of the core reasons for viral wildfire in the first place.

You can blame Johnson et al for lockdown delay and leaky borders, but I have seen so many acts of citizen selfishness during the past year that I wonder if autonomy can ever be put back in the bottle. Here in Margate, tributes to the patriotism hefted by the Leave campaign joined the tattoo parlours' most popular requests. Still adamant that our stance as a sovereign, independent country (albeit split into four by the end of the decade) is preferable to being 28th in line at Argos EU, the Leavers are enjoying a moment of smug. Their obdurate belief in Brexit and the dismissal of its actual impacts characterises local conversations, reminding me of a children’s poem I wrote last year.

Look, I Found A Cat

Dad said Look,

I found a cat

and that was that.

We didn’t mention

its long neck

and tufty tail,

the tiny ears

and hairy horns,

the jigsaw puzzle coat,

because a cat

was what we’d

longed for,

even when Mum said

You’re being daft,

that’s a giraffe.