Tuesday 19 June 2018

Whatever you do, just don't mention the 'B word' - Brexit lays bare Britain's class divide

A luncheon in picturesque Wiltshire opened up a fresh perspective on Brexit’s divisiveness for Mary Kenny
A luncheon in picturesque Wiltshire opened up a fresh perspective on Brexit’s divisiveness for Mary Kenny
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

I was delighted to be invited to an exceptionally promising lunch - fine cooking guaranteed - in Wiltshire just before Christmas. Train schedules ordained that I arrived early, and this gave the hostess, an old friend, a chance to take me aside discreetly for a moment. "Don't," she said, "mention the B word, for heaven's sake! They're all Remainers here. We don't talk about the war!"

Oh, the B word! Brexit! Yes. Stella had voted for Brexit and her children had given her a hell of a time over it. "Is this what you want, Mum? The total collapse of our jobs, pensions, way of life?" her son - working in the City of London - had railed over the phone. "Honestly, Mum, you're awful!"

"But, darling," Stella protested. "I just don't want England to be totally concreted over - as it will be if the population expands by five million every 10 years!" That led to accusations of the 'X' word - xenophobic, which Stella, fluent in three languages, is definitely not.

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