The Power of Nightmares

Recently the psychotherapist Susie Orbach wrote an interesting article on the Brexit decision, mentioning the psychic harm done to some of those directly affected by the vote. I’m one of the lucky ones; I won’t lose my residency or be thrown out of work, and I’ve already had a lifetime of enjoying the rights and freedoms that EU membership bestows on us. Nonetheless I’ve been aware for some time of a growing sense of a sort of weary sadness perpetually at the back of my mind. Last night it took clearer form in my first indisputably Brexit-related dream.

I was in Windsor, the town where I spent some of my childhood, and somewhere I have scarcely thought about, let alone revisited, for nearly forty years. I was walking along a road I once knew well past long forgotten shops and buildings. Down the street came an endless procession of marching soldiers, squad after squad. And the edge of the pavement was lined with onlookers, many of the men wearing cloth caps and saluting. I knew it wasn’t Remembrance Sunday – just an ordinary day – but when I asked a bystander what was happening, and why, no answer came. Just a middle-aged man, a little shabby, standing silently at the salute.

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