There is a music festival taking place this weekend at Eastville Park called Love Saves The Day. The frightening direction of this country suggests it might need to and soon.
I have written often enough about the hate and loathing that been legitimised after the EU referendum in 2016. Yes, people’s reasons for wanting to leave Europe were sometimes complex and sometimes different but the campaign and result has set in train a series of events that is making this country a pretty horrible place to be.
I watch this situation unravel from a slightly unusual place. Trying to see off the mental illness that blights my life, I have tried to eliminate hate. Having waited well over a year for therapy, I have been reduced to treating myself, which has resulted in isolating myself from a lot of things and a lot of people. I have cut myself off from my football team, Bristol Rovers, because I fell out of love with the club after years of hate, mostly from rich, powerful and/or influential people. I’m not even playing golf at the moment, my mid life crisis set to one side as I remove myself from large aspects of society. I rarely visit my local pub or anywhere else unless I am with my long-suffering partner. Put simply, I am avoiding every kind of conflict, anger, schadenfreude, bitterness and conversations I would rather not have at the moment. It’s fucking awful.
My mood was not helped, oddly enough, by the reactions on social networks to Liverpool’s defeat to Real Madrid last night. So many people were happily gloating about the defeat, revelling in favour, celebrating loss, rubbing people’s noses in it. And worse still, taking the piss out of Liverpool’s goalkeeper who endured a living nightmare as his blunders played a considerably role in his team’s defeat. Perhaps, no for sure, that was me a few years ago. No longer.
Instead, I recall the death of Robert Enke, another German goalkeeper, who took his life back in 2009. You know the story. He was very ill and took his own life. Rather than celebrate the nightmare of Karius, why not put an arm around the man? You work for something all your professional life, probably after dreaming about it as a child. And then it all goes wrong. There are different types of trauma and I am not going to compare one type with another. All I know is that Liverpool’s goalkeeper will never forget what happened in Kiev and everyone has a duty to ensure he is all right.
But I can’t get over all that hate, that negativity, that bitterness and, yes, that schadenfreude. Call it human nature, call it what you want. However, I will say this: I am struggling with all of it. My view is that it really needs to stop. It needs to, but I fear it won’t. Something has changed in our country, certainly stoked by our chaotic and disastrous Brexit, the genie is out of the bottle and I genuinely fear that love won’t save the day. Hate is in a clear lead this morning.