Down and Out, Heartbroken

I don’t like to get political on this blog but after the news this morning I just wanted to briefly mention that I am heartbroken. I love Europe. I love it’s people. I love the fact I have grown up all my life (as someone born after joining the EU) calling myself European, far more than I have British probably. So I am devastated that fear, lies and hatred have won.

The world seems all out of kilter, shouldn’t we be fighting the madness together rather than letting it win? I’m for inclusion, as all my friends and family are. So I feel utterly saddened that so many people will be looking at my country and thinking we aren’t and that we don’t want to be. That is all.


Filed under Random Savidgeness

45 responses to “Down and Out, Heartbroken

  1. dirtmother

    I put my head in my hands and wept.

    We should have had a test requiring people to say whether they understood that the EU had not banned curvy bananas and if they didn’t, not allowing them to vote. I was flabberghasted to discover that there are people who voted still believing *that* myth (obviously haven’t been near any fruit and veg retailers in a long time if so…)

    I prescribe a nice murder mystery for us both.

  2. Struggling this morning with the world. I had come to think of myself as a global citizen in an ever more liberal and advanced world where growing humanity and rational thinking replaced nationalism, populism and hate. I know not all ‘leave’ voters are like that, but with Trump, Farage and Johnson on the rise it worries me gravely. Listening to their gloating is almost unbearable.
    I think of Berlin in the 1920s where enlightenment and openness came to an abrupt stop because of economical issues and the invention of scapegoats.
    It is hard to believe in the nation after this vote and the temptation is there to up and ‘leave Britain to the British’.
    Thanks for your post that reminds me that this is not yet called for.
    Most of the ‘leave’ voters are old and will die soon and the younger generation is gutted with us.

    • Bet

      Many of us in the US have these same feelings about the possibility of Trump becoming our president. The very idea is so discouraging. What happened with the Brexit vote makes me even more frightened of a Trump win here, as the thought-tide seems to be in the xenophobic, nationalistic direction.

  3. We’re all going to hell in a handcart. I can’t believe that I live in a country with such idiotic bigots. Makes me want to emigrate…..

  4. Nellie

    I have hated this referendum and the way it was conducted on both sides. As I watched the debate I came to the conclusion that for many people this was less about the EU as an institution, and more about social injustice (real or perceived). With all the scandals of recent times, the corporate tax avoidance, Panama papers, the financial crash, MP’s expenses… it was only a matter of time before something happened. What seems astonishing to me is that the EU leadership said this morning that they should now think about the social issues which have lead to Brexit. Perhaps doing that before everything got out of hand might have been a better idea…

  5. pam

    it’s so sad. i live in the states and we are having the same problems here. it seems people are highly motivated by fear, even if based on unfounded (manufactured) ideas. why is it that people would rather believe a fearful lie over the facts? it’s like reality doesn’t matter anymore. why are people so scared? it is very disturbing and i’m terrified for our general election in november.

    • . I am from the states also. It seems as if everyone has gone bonkers. People have forgotten the importance of being inclusionary and unified. Is it because those of us who are baby-boomers are dying off already? The Cold War means nothing now? Isolationism and its disastrous consequences have been forgotten? So, we are no longer learning from history itself? I thought of Simon when the results of the EU vote were all over CNN. I thought about his comments on the possibility of electing Donald Trump. Big mouth with supporters who are blindly following…..this reminds me of a certain someone with a mustache from Germany. People in England and America. Stop and think.
      Use intellect.

  6. I can’t quite believe it, still. I was hoping that sense would triumph, but instead, it’s left me utterly dismayed to live in a country where so many people think that gambling our future is the “right” thing to do.

  7. I am also gutted.
    The scale of the lack of understanding on the part of many of the ‘Leave’ voters is now becoming clear e.g. the man, who voted leave, interviewed on BBC News this morning who said he is ‘shocked and worried’ because he didn’t really think his vote would count and assumed we would ‘remain’.

    And Cornwall, which voted en masse to leave, but hopes to retain its EU funding for local projects?


  8. What an appalling kick in the teeth for all those who served and died in two world wars, protecting us from the spread of racial hatred and xenophobia. How can all these Brexiteers get dressed in the mornings, hampered as they are by memory loss and short sight? I am ashamed – for the first time ever – to be English.

  9. louise

    We’ve discussed this massively in Denmark – my whole point is that for 3000 years we fought wars constantly in Europe – then after WW2 we created the EU to work things out peacefully and help each other. It is NOT perfect – but we’ve had 71 years of peace – for the first time in recorded history. In these Putin/Trump times, Europe needs to be the sensible WE that maintains democracy and peace – not a lot of “us” and “them”‘s only looking out for our own small countries

  10. Ann

    Simon, so sorry you are so sad right now. I think the whole world is topsy turvey lately. In U.S. things are not good either. This is why we have our books to lose our troubles & ourselves in.

  11. Sarah

    keep book blogging out of politics.We do not all feel the same.

    • I think as its my blog and it has completely affected my day I will write what I fancy to be fair.

      • Rob

        Way to go Simon!!!!!

        All the BEST!!!!!


      • Nigel

        Thats what all bloggers say if anyone disagrees with them.

      • Is that you Mr Farage? I’ll say it again. My blog my content. Don’t like it, don’t read it. Seems fair?

      • sally

        Bearded bully.

      • I’m not bullying anyone. I’m not forcing anyone to read this blog. I wanted to share my sadness simple as.

      • dirtmother

        I volunteer for a charity which has a strict ‘no mixing causes’ policy which is very necessary. I also have a group of friends/acquaintances whose views on some things very important to me are, I am pretty certain, passionately opposite my own but we keep our shared interest in a separate little box so we can enjoy one another’s company in blissful ignorance of the fact that I would like to see some of their other activities banned. I also don’t think I’d want to stand by and see someone promulgate untruths unchallenged rather than mere opinions about a not directly connected issue and just stop reading just because it is their blog.

        BUT I really wonder if those who are complaining are actually people who regularly read this blog or have ever contributed to the book-y discussion here or have any sense of who Simon is and what he is about? His book reviews attract many of us precisely because they are personal not cold, detached literary criticism. What next… complaints from those who are uncomfortable with or opposed to same sex relationships about any mention of Simon’s partner or his engagement? We, the 48% (arguably more if you include those who evidently didn’t fancy Brexit enough to go out and vote) know all too well that not everyone thinks the same way we do on this issue. (If you don’t understand why we feel so sad, then I don’t think you understood what you were voting in favour of)

      • This is wonderful. I have a post about pride coming so I will probably get some stick about that too today. Ha. Thank you for this comment. Wonderful.

      • Rosemary

        72% in Edinburgh!

    • Karen B

      It’s your blog, Simon, and you have every right to say what you feel regardless of whether or not people agree. I happen to agree with you, but would still say the same about it being your blog even if I didn’t agree. I’m scared for my country too. I thought Trump was a joke when he started. Now it scares the hell out of me when I see how many people are blinded by him and his hate speech. Now this makes it even worse… I hope things aren’t as dire as things seem at the moment.

  12. Annabel (gaskella)

    Ditto everyone’s sentiments. I cried this morning when I heard.

  13. Never thought I’d cry to see Cameron step down, but it was the final straw. ‘Heartbroken’ doesn’t feel strong enough, but what does? Astonished that it went this way. I love Europe. I love being in Europe. Sure, it isn’t perfect and there are things about it that really need to be better, but we’d have been better able to make that happen on the inside than on the outside. If people genuinely believed we couldn’t negotiate a better position from within, how do they expect it to be easier on the outside. Mystified. Horrified. Devastated.

  14. A Kiwi in Oxford

    Not even the (brief) burst of sunshine can lighten my mood today. How can so many people have allowed xenophobia to over rule a better future for this country? We have cut the moorings and set ourselves adrift in the Atlantic and will have to search for new friends and trading partners in a very uncertain world, probably leaving Scotland behind. No way will we get the fairer deals some people think we will. I even feel sad for the loss of David Cameron, especially at the thought of the alternatives. From now on novels and history books for me.

  15. I am so sorry for you all. Any chance of fighting this? I heard of some ways to challenge it on the news. Are these viable? We are fighting here in the US, too, against this madness and inhumanity.

  16. I was gobsmacked when I heard the news late last night. I wasn’t sure what to think. I still don’t.
    Reading what others have commented, I’m reminded of a few years ago when I was able to volunteer to stand outside a polling precinct to make sure voters understood how to vote and what they were voting on. There was an issue that many thought would keep gays from receiving benefits. In fact, the bill would have affected anyone in any relationship that was not sanctioned by the state. I was dumfounded that so many misunderstood.
    I guess there will always be people who don’t do their homework and vote from fear rather than intelligence.

  17. I don’t think it ends here. We need a Brentry campaign. Turn the tables on the idiots. However long it takes.

  18. Andrew Cole

    Hello Simon, I’ve just posted on your Twitter so hope this doesn’t seem like overkill . I don’t delve much on the twittersphere as I tend to use it to touch in with matters that interest me especially books however I dislike the vitriol that is both on Twitter and has been a significant part of this referendum. I was very pleased to be able to tell you in person in Manchester recently how much I enjoyed your work expanding accessibility to literature but hopefully it will also help you if I entirely endorse your thoughts on this referendum.
    I am a 50+ father of 3 daughters, 21,17, and 14. All three were devastated today and felt disenfranchised as a decision had been made on their behalf that will have significant impacts on their future and their children’s future long after I have put down my last scandi crime novel. Europe is not the land of scroungers it is the home of culture that I want to be part of whether it is Bulgharkov’s cat, kurkov’s penguin, Ferrante’s Naples, Mankell’s dour detective, skvorecky’s crazy Czech world, nesbo’s Harry hole, and at your recco Le Maitre’s Alex , and many more authors that have filled my life with mystery joy and literary beauty. I have noticed as I’ve tried through a good reads around the world challenge how frequently authors challenge boundaries and face imprisonment for their art, it may well be through art and reaching out across literary boundaries that the hatred can be quelled. Fahrenheit 451 is a case in point , books and education are seen as threatening, I entirely endorse your views, your right to express them, and hope you will carry on sharing your joy of books with an audience that appreciate that joy.

    • Rosemary

      Ditto. I am a similarly aged mother of 3 children aged 23, 21 & 18 and they are devastated (as am I). 18 year old, who has only just got the vote, says she wonders if there’s any point in exercising it in future. I am trying to keep them going by pointing out how lucky we are to live in Scotland, which feels more European & less British by the day. I do feel there is a future for us in Europe, & I feel very sorry for all of you south of the border.

  19. adevotedreader

    I’m shocked and sorry Simon- such a divisive vote and now there are such challenges ahead for the UK and the EU.

  20. Totally agree Simon – thanks for posting this.

  21. Jane

    I share your pain. I’m still in shock.

  22. I was shocked by the strength of my reaction – I found myself in tears for large parts of yesterday. It feels like someone has died. Just remember that there are about 16 million people who share your sense of dismay and loss.

  23. Julie's Book Cave

    Thanks Simon, you’ve expressed how I and my family feel. I was shocked but now I’m heartbroken.

  24. I was so sad yesterday too. And I’m glad you wrote about it – writing your thoughts on things that mean something to you is what makes your blog amazing.

  25. Richard

    I too am devastated … but it’s good to read your piece and the comments. It’s comforting to know that there are lots of good people who feel similarly to myself. I don’t feel so bad now for myself but I can’t stop thinking of all the young people whose lives will be effected. For the first time in my life I feel embarrassed to be British .. the thought that people’s around the world will categorise me [and you] with the Farage’s and Boris’ is horrible!

  26. The result has made for one depressing and despairing weekend. We should have remained.

  27. I’m with you and all sad, angry, devastated readers/voters. I chose to be a teacher because as well as demonstrating the possibilities and wonder of learning, I wanted to broaden friendships, outlooks, compassion, show the glory of diversity. I’ve certainly wept and am not FB sharing the posts on the racist nasty pathetic and sick happenings of the last few days, definitely related to the Leave triumph. Don’t give them the attention they crave. A couple of things have made me smile (Keep Calm and Blame Rob Titchener) and cheer with happiness (the policeman proposing to his lover during the Pride march). But it is all a bit desperate. All good wishes to you XXXX

    • Rosemary

      I must say The Archers is a welcome escape at the moment – thank goodness we had That Scene when we were in a better emotional place to cope with it 🙂

  28. The Reading Bug

    I know I am coming to this discussion late in the day, but wanted to add my agreement to your comments and all the others in support – BrEntry campaign starts now!

  29. Elizabeth

    It makes me pause and sigh. And I am ever more frightened Trump will be voted into office. I have to believe reason will prevail. Who likes this guy? No one I know. And yet …

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