Sunday 19 June 2016

Have you danced around a maypole?

Well, have you?

The village in Somerset where I grew up was about as quintessentially British as you could probably actually get.

I've danced around maypoles. I've plaited corn dolls to show at the harvest festival. I've baked plaited rolls at school. I've been on a school visit to a farm to see a combine harvester in action. I've even visited a Cheddar cheese factory.

My primary school had one building, one portakabin. A garden and pond. And about 30 kids in it - the size of one class these days - 30 kids between the ages of 5 and 9. There was no other girl my age in the entire village. There were council houses, ex council houses and newish estates mixed with thatched cottages and a 20 room mansion next to a farm around the village green. Cricket was played every weekend during summer.

Sound idyllic doesn't it?

It also contained at least one father who was a paedophile. A young boy of 11 who moved in, raped a 6 year old, was caught and charged and moved away. Another boy who when I was 6 forced me back up against a counter in that primary school portakabin and forced me to kiss him. Yes I told my mother. Who told the school. Yet somehow that boy was able to grow up and be inappropriately hassling with my best friend on the school bus every morning because school was at least a 30 minute drive away.

Further down the road was we lived on - about 2 miles or so away was an abandoned airfield from the war which the local Sea Kings used for training exercises. On the edge of it lived a camp of travellers. My first experience with armed police was aged 10 (I think) when I came home from school to find a barricade just around the corner from our house manned by armed police who were looking for a gunman on the loose.

Then there was the local arsonist who was never caught who had a propensity for setting local barns full of hay on fire.

What's my point?

What, exactly, do you want to go back to when you say you want to go back? To an appearance of idyll? To a world which looked perfect if you tasted the icing but was rotten still underneath? Dry and crumbling to pieces, held only together by the pretty icing?

Perfect doesn't exist. Idyll doesn't exist. Neither can, because both contain people. Leaving Europe will not remove people's potential for evil. It will not remove bad people. It will just change the colour of the skin of the bad people, or change their accents. And in the process you will remove the counter balance to that evil - the good. The great and the good who come to our country and strive to change it for the better, contribute for the better, innovate for the better, code for the better, campaign for the better.

Balance is essential. Don't upset it in the pointless search for an idyll that you can only now see through rose tinted glasses. Let the light in - for without it the shadows will grow to fill all the cracks.

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