There was a sombre mood at the talks I attended at Hay Festival this year. Not because of the rain or the failed digital strategy, but because of a palpable sense of fracture within the British electorate. A sense that an already small island was dividing itself further still.
The ascendency of UKIP, the chance of an independent Scotland, the chance too of an independent Wales. The earnings divide between the south-east and the rest of the country, the chance of a no vote in Europe, of tighter boarder control. An ineffective ‘Better Together’ campaign and an even more confusing pro EU one.
Fast forward to 2017 and what do you see? An isolated, middle order nation who struggles to get on with itself, let alone the rest of the world.
I found myself wondering why no one could tell us what it means to be British. What were the things that make our union worth defending. Maybe we’ll find out more in the coming general election? I think it’s unlikely…