I was born in Cornwall, but live in Catalonia.
I have a British passport and a Spanish wife.
I am an immigrant here and I am loved and accepted in my adopted home.
But today I am afraid, afraid about what has been unleashed in my country of origin by politicians who are happy to foment hatred in order to further their personal ambitions, who are willing to sacrifice community and compassion on the altar of greed and prejudice.
Today I have wept, and will weep again for what my country is becoming.
In March 1939 – the date says it all, surely? – WH Auden wrote:
Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you’ll find it there.
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.
How hard it is for us to learn. So let us come together and speak out against hatred and prejudice, against bigotry and lies, before it is too late. And let us not think that the victims of our silence and inaction will be others. That is not the case now, just as it wasn’t the case in 1939. As Auden wrote, a few lines later in the same poem:
Came to a public meeting, the speaker got up and said:
“If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread”;
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.
Jo Cox, RIP. Like so many, I never knew you, but like so many I will reap the rewards of your efforts. Thank you.