The Britain Formerly Known as Great

Will the last Person to Leave Please Close the Door on the Way Out (British Pub During the 2012 London Olympics, Tony Coleby 2012)
Will the last Person to Leave Please Close the Door on the Way Out (Tony Coleby, 2012)

I know. I promised not to get political. So I won’t. Well, much.

I am British. You may have heard of my country Englandshire (just outside London, Scotland). We used to be quite famous. For all that greatness and stuff. We modernised the world by fair means or foul and had the largest empire the world has ever known. Yes that’s the one.

As soon as the results of THAT vote became evident a few years ago the world changed. It is not my place to challenge those who voted in a different way to me, I’ve always been mostly respectful to those with dissenting opinions. Because well, normally I am the one doing the dissenting.

This moment is not about politics but about documenting a point in history when the Europe is holding its breath. Great Britain is far from its glory days though it isn’t the uninfluential backwater some have spitefully claimed. Current events may very well prove to be the unravelling of the world economy. At least for a while. Things always recover of course. Don’t they?

The Union Flag; Battered, Maligned but Still Flying (Tony Coleby, 2010)
The Union Flag; Battered, Maligned but Still Flying (Tony Coleby, 2010)

I consider myself a pragmatist and as soon as it seemed that things were going in a direction other than that expected I forced myself to accept it. Who am I to stand against the will of the populace? My banner-waving days are long gone, no more marching on government for me. Protests are a way of maintaining the fallacy of democracy and not a way of exercising it. That sounds a bit cynical doesn’t it? Perhaps I’m only half right.

So cast your gaze upon the scene of a British pub in the heart of England (top image on the page). Union flags showing our national pride at the height of the Olympics. But like the country now in 2019 it is getting a little emptier. Good friends have departed these shores in search of something…better?

As I write, the pound is plummeting against every other currency. GBP/ EUR parity is imminent and with the country’s economic output following likewise the nadir of sterling’s parity with the US dollar seems like a possibility. The consensus seems to be that regardless of what lies in the long-term future, the short to medium term is going to be rocky indeed for everyone but those with enough wealth to see them through it.

Rain Clouds over English Fields (Tony Coleby, 2017)
Rain Clouds over English Fields (Tony Coleby, 2017)

My family came to this beautiful country in the 1950s from Malta, in search of work. That jewel of the Mediterranean which now relatively thriving, after the war had been in parts obliterated. A strategic point between Europe and North Africa had been used and abused by both Axis and Allies alike and when the dust had settled, both victors and vanquished seemed to get on with rebuilding much quicker than the actual battlegrounds themselves. Places like Malta.

So British I am and still proudly so. That quiet, confident pride not the other type. I love it here and am constantly amazed and that I get to enjoy the beauty of our towns and countryside on the cheap. Some people pay a fortune to come here and drive around this land, perhaps renting a sports car to do so and all the time paying tourist prices. I do this whenever I like in small chunks and am incredibly grateful for this, for love and for relatively good health. Everything else is secondary.

See you all on the other side eh?

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