Today it is exactly a year before we are destined to leave the EU with its connotations of separation and isolation. Che sera sera whatever will be will be. It’s odd that someone as European as I should reflect now on the benefits of distancing ourselves from our continental cousins. The first break from the continent happened thousands of years ago when literally we broke off creating the channel that divides us now and the white cliffs of Dover that welcome those that cross it from the other side. Cliffs and channels like walls are dividers that some would say have kept us safe from many a foreign invader since the dawn of time, just as the roads and byways between the Republic and Northern Ireland bind it together in an admixture of personal and business ties matched by the blending of the landscapes.
But is the Channel, La Manche, and the resulting cliffs as much of a divide as meets the eye? We are a nation of shopkeepers and merchants continuing to cross borders whatever the politicians are proposing, as we cannot be an isolated island just as the borders between northern Irelánd and the South cannot contain and won’t contain those com d’habitude who cris cross the border daily.
In a sense borders like the Channel soften the divide. Sometimes in life we need the in between, the space, and it’s good to have the grey between the black and the white. Right the way down to our personal relationships space allows for individuality and scope to grow together in a much more fulfilled life than something overly centralised and suffocating. New relationships based on a wider experience can develop, and we should shun those who want to take back control regardless of the need to embrace, trade, share and co-operate. We need to relish the grey! So there’s a challenge there for any globalisers like me to change the invitation to separate to a new kind of sustainable co-existence, one that relishes ones own space whilst at the same time embracing our neighbour – this is perhaps a fitting message this Eastertide wishing you all a very happy and blessed one.