Spent yesterday staring at the grey sky willing it to rain. Which at the very end it did, then carried on all night into this morning to give the ground what it needs.
A week ago we arrived back from Sicily and Lipari into a suffocating heat, descending steps in an old-fashioned way onto hot tarmac, walking to an airport building that had no moving stairs or lift – I imagine all because Easyjet pay Gatwick less for such lack of amenity. Flying really has become cattle-wagon awful, and LGW the very worse of all airports, retail outlet the priority, passenger comfort barely considered – unless of course you’re First or Club or Business.
Not that Southern Rail was any better with its overcrowded short trains. Here we most certainly were back in a country that doesn’t much care anymore, beyond simple xenophobia and the general air of poverty and despair that is the inevitable outcome of huge and restricted private wealth coupled with public squalor. England doesn’t feel familiar anymore. I am no longer at ease. People’s expressions seem unwelcoming, more sour and suspicious than a year ago.
Only the mention of Corbyn’s name might bring forth something like a smile. How impossible return to England might have been if Jeremy hadn’t so emphatically bruised the Tory heel and destroyed the Prime Minister’s hauteur, punishing her lack of principle. For a clergyman’s daughter she demonstrates so little humanity. And Corbyn, by contrast, so much.
I haven’t read too many public apologies from the pundits and political commentators who’d written him off with their twelve months of savage ridicule and disdain. And I don’t mean those of the Daily Mail or Murdoch’s comics: I refer to the Guardian and Observer journalists, most of whom I expect to see sent off on indefinite sabbatical to reapply their craft without the arrogant inherited prejudice of London intellectualism. Owen Jones, Gary Younge, Paul Mason, George Monbiot, William Keegan come to mind as honourable exceptions.
Shall I now spend today staring at another grey but wetter sky and wonder again where I would choose to live if I had the means to survive elsewhere? And in that respect we do respect this country and its (much threatened) Welfare State. Though I'm sure, even at the age of 77, I would be called by some 'a scrounger'.