For the next month they would eat only food native to the island, they would eat no snails. They had banished the Peugeots from their garages and filled their wine cellars in with ales named things like Admiral Crichton’s Foggy Dew and Blunderbuss Familiar. They censored their speech to remove words not entirely of the vernacular. Guttural sounds, the murmurings of something primitive, fearful, mad. Their names seemed demonic, monstrous – gods of a fallen civilization now forgotten. Gove, Farage, Boris. They gave speeches to men of the same mind and age. A tribe formed, Brexit.
They spoke of the gravy train and the butter mountain and the free market. They looked to the East and shuddered. They looked to the West and were shuddered at in turn. Under a Union Jack they strode from one golf club to the next, a procession of monoglots. They marched on. They marched like men invested with a purpose that they themselves were only partly convinced of, shaking, angry and uncertain..
They spoke of Brussels as inquisitors from Spain once spoke of roasting human flesh. All day they preached their gospel to no one but those they had already converted. Their leader, thatch haired, wild and insane, eyes haunted by a gamble that he knew now would not pay off. The sound of failed dice in his voice, the mechanical rumble of a rusting roulette wheel his faltering heartbeat.
They spoke of monsters to come from the Levant, demons already here from the Carpathians. The earth beyond the white cliffs was spiteful, infectious and corrupt. The Channel was their friend, the Tunnel their foe. They said the enemy had lied. That ten, no fifty million invaders lay waiting to plunder their savings, savage their children, eradicate their culture. They were listened to, they were scoffed at, they were applauded, they were ignored. The clapping warmed their hearts by day, in restless sleep their dreams were all of running, weeping, pointing and hiding.