I am sad for my city. Working in an industry that's heavily dependent on the single market, I am worried about my place in it. But even if that turns out to be an unfounded fear, I am still anxious about the London of the future.
The thing I love the most about my city is its diversity and openness, both in mind and to the world. Londoners relish in dinner parties of ten with nine foreign guests, the cacophony of languages in the tube and on our streets, circles of friends of all hues, religions and histories. London feels like a world city in a way New York could only dream of, a capital city that citizens of the world can call their own.
None of that has changed in the 48 hours since middle England succumbed to a campaign of fear over facts, but London, and Britain, suddenly feel much smaller. The Big Smoke is no longer the economic and cultural epicentre of a continent, but an outsized capital of a diminishing country that's been cut down at the knees by its insular, xenophobic hinterland.
I still love London, and want to stay here to be with my people and fight for it. But will I love the London of three, five or ten years hence? As Great Britain becomes Little England, as international mobility deteriorates and the churn of nationalities, people and ideas through our streets slows, what kind of city will it be? Will it continue to be the preeminent global city, or just a bigger version of Birmingham?
Of course it's too soon to make any life decisions, but I am mulling plan Bs. Should I move to the continent while I still can? If Scotland votes for independence, can I relocate to Glasgow in time to be swept back into the EU with it? Do I make a radical change and try something totally new? Trudeau's Canada seems a good fit, and I hear Wellington, New Zealand is awfully nice.
For now, I am still IN, but melancholy and disheartened - the very opposite of what it means to be a Londoner.
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