It’s the Queen’s platinum jubilee and the Brexit gammon are high. On Saturday 28 May I met one of the Brexit flagshaggers at 7am in the morning, at my train station in Kent, en-route to Brighton to give a masterclass on rejoining the EU. I decided to perform a miniature Street Brexorcism. The conversation went something like this:
HIM: Oh, I suppose you are off to one of those remoaner protests in London again, having fucked the country up (he had noticed my Break Brexit Before Brexit Breaks Britain t-shirt).
ME: Not exactly. I’m off to talk to a bunch of entitled lefty twats in Brighton about my latest book.
HIM: That’s not very nice.
ME: Nah, it’s OK. People in Brighton can probably afford to ride the storm of Brexit. It’s the people who live here in Medway like you and me that I feel sorry for. They must bear the consequences.
HIM: Nah. We’d have been alright if it had not been you lot stopping us getting Brexit done properly.
ME: But you have a pretty hard Brexit. Boris popped in the oven and it’s done. What did you get from Brexit by the way?
HIM (dithering slightly and getting a bit angry): It’s too soon to say (obviously he could name nothing).
ME: OK, but what did you want from Brexit?
HIM (calming a little): Well, I wanted local democracy rather than being told what to do?
ME: Have you got that?
HIM (confused): Too soon to say. You lot spoiled it anyway.
ME: We can agree that we have not got more local democracy. But you give me too much power by assuming that I can change anything. We are all ignored by politicians. I’m sure you realise that Brexit was not for us. It was for them. You do realise that Johnson cancelled democracy yesterday when he put himself beyond the law by cancelling the ministerial code?
HIM (he did not know about the changes to the ministerial code): I don’t care about Boris. He can fuck off.
ME: Anyway, I must be off to talk to the ‘entitled lefty pricks’ of Brighton. Nice to speak.
HIM: That’s rude. You are not going to call them that are you?
ME: Of course. They know who they are, as we do. I’m just intelligent scum. Anyway, thank you for speaking with me.
To my surprise, he shook my hand!
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Within minutes of entering the station I had an entirely different conversation with the South Eastern ticket clerk:
HER: No bike today?
ME: No, I’m loaded up with books to go to Brighton.
HER: Can I get hold of one?
ME: Yes, but not now as they are all packed. I will give you my card.
And on arrival at St Pancras I bumped into BBC Travel Correspondent Simon Calder.
ME: Hello Simon. We met years ago and talked of The Beatles and riding shotgun on Indian Railways.
To my amazement, Simon seemed to remember our conversation. If not, he was very kind.
ME: I’m off to give a talk in Brighton about Rejoining the EU and the tragedy of Brexit.
SIMON (looking around and pointing at Eurostar queues): All this is totally down to Brexit! Good luck.
Listen to Simon speaking on travel delays and naming Brexit as a cause at BBC Radio 4 Today, today Tues 31 May 2022 at 8.45 am.