Iceland Day 4

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I got up a little later than I intended with no specific plans. I had to go to the Kriglan Mall to run a few errands, Heiner caught up with me at breakfast and offered me a lift there. I got what I needed and picked up something for Helen as a Christmas present. Heiner found me again and gave me a ride back to Laugervagur.

I spent more money on Laugevagur than I had done previously but I got some cool stuff, including a ‘norsey horsey’ cuddly toy. I had a look inside the cathedral and got myself a pizza for lunch, which is the first proper money I’ve spent on food, but so worth it. I found Cafe Loki opposite and had some Icelandic herb tea while the sun went down (so round about 3:30 pm).

I attempted to find the National Museum but I thought it might close too soon after I got there so I hung out in the park. It was pretty but totally frozen, even most of the large pond at the centre. It was David’s anniversary so I sat down for a little while. There was one small area of the pond that wasn’t froze, with swans and ducks swimming in it. I went down a nearby street that looked cute and it had an English Bar, an American bar, and an Irish bar, which already sounds like a joke. I found a souvenir shop selling cheap hot chocolate.

I checked out the Irish bar and went for a coffee. They had a stuffed rabbit dressed like a fenian holding a shotgun, so it was wholly authentic. I headed back to the hostel after that with the plan of drinking what I had there to save money. I had the same dinner of boil-in-the-bag rice and kidney beans and sat with the same crowd as yesterday. I had one of my beers, a wine, and a pint from behind the bar.

We were all drinking and eventually decided to go to some bars in Reykjavik. The plan was Lebowskibar but we passed Dillon’s on the way, which I had heard a lot about, so we checked that out. I had a shot of brennivin and a whiskey, and still felt totally sober. There was a band in there but we didn’t spend too long listening to them.

Next stop was the infamous Lebowskibar. It was super cool in terms of references to the movie, but like everything in the country, expensive as hell. None of us bought anything to drink as a result but a few of the guys found some girls to chat up. I was determined to go to this gay bar across the road called Kiki’s, recommended to me by a friend, and dragged two very straight Californians along with me.

Neither of them were too happy about it at first but they were playing some absolute bangers so they quickly got very into it, especially the young guy from LA. It was only a small place but the music was at a good volume where you could still hear yourself. I had another pint there, but still felt absolutely fine. We chatted to other people in there, before heading to the American bar where everyone else was.

The guys wanted some food so we went on a mission for some, eventually finding this takeaway place and getting fries. After that it was a walk back to the hostel in the cold. There was no falling on the ice luckily. I went straight to bed once we got back. I still felt completely fine, despite the mix of booze I’d had.

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Iceland day 3

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Once again I managed to hijack someone else’s trip! Me and the three Spanish girls got invited along for a drive with this guy from San Fransisco, who, unlike our driver yesterday, only asked for fuel money. We left early to miss tourists and played some 90s R&B classics along the way.

We got to the black sand beach in the south coast just as the sun was coming up. One of the most surreal, beautiful places I have ever been to. There were these huge rock formations on the cliff side not dissimilar to the Giant’s Causeway. There were flocks of seagulls flying around and the sea was pretty wild. There were cavernous spaces in the cliff face that looked like the mouths of caves, and two crooked rock towers out in the sea to the left of the sun. I picked some volcanic rocks for people back home.

We then drove to another part of the beach that was home to the wreck of a WWII bomber plane (everyone survived the crash). It was about a 2 mile walk from the care but that made it more special. Anywhere else it might have been taken to a scrapyard decades ago, or become a tourist trap. The lighting was beautiful and there were a few professional photographers. I carved David’s name on the side of the plane and inside, it would have fascinated him. We took loads of pics, including one of me stood on top and frozen in terror! After the walk back to the car we ate some sandwiches and took some pics on the road.

After that we moved on to an amazing waterfall, covered in ice. It was less cold, and we had visibility problems in the car due to rain. There was still plenty of ice around, however. Lee, our driver, spoke some Spanish and was trying to improve, so I was mainly surrounded by Spanish speakers for most of the journey! It was fine, however, I learned a lot myself!

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After that we moved onto a glacier, which was truly awe-inspiring. We had to walk over a fair bit of ice to get there but luckily no one fell. If my Mum had been there she would have had a heart attack! It was huge, a gorgeous blue colour, and sat amongst more mountains. There was a small blue lake coming off it with frozen patches and small bergs of blue ice, like a miniature Arctic sea. The banks were made up of black sand and shiny black pebbles. Iceland has to have one of the most surreal landscapes on the planet. There was a tiny little cafe where we could use the toilet and buy some food, I can’t imagine working somewhere so tiny and remote.

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We managed to squeeze in one more waterfall before driving back to Reykjavik. It was getting dark and starting to rain, so we basically just ran out, took some pics, and ran back to the car! Although, I did squeeze in a quick visit to the gift shop, and two of the girls bought Lee a donut for his trouble.

I snoozed in the car for most of the journey home, and woke up with the rain and blizzard level snow covering the road. Poor Lee was having to go about 2 miles an hour, and his windscreen wipers only seem to make things worse! We pretty much just followed other cars. If Mum was there she would have freaked out. Luckily, we got back in one piece, and me being lazy, I went for a nap.

I got talking to other hostel guests at the bar. It was happy hour, so we were able to get pints cheaper than normal. They were all really nice, and a cool thing about hostels is getting together with people from all over the world. If I was staying in a hotel I wouldn’t have taken trips and I wouldn’t have anyone to hang out with in the evening. We spent a long time talking about the penis museum, and Icelandic witchcraft.

At around nine o’clock me and the same group went out to try and find the aurora. We got out to a spot near þingvellir. The lights we out, but once again it was very faint. It was still a nice night, however, the skies were clear and we spotted a few shooting stars. I t may have been purely imagination but the stars seemed twinklier out there, too. Lee took some long exposure pictures which showed the Northern Lights a lot brighter and more impressive than they were in person, so we always have the option to lie and say we saw them. We drove back and I pretty much went straight to bed.

Iceland – day 2

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I agreed to go on an unofficial (and possibly slightly illegal) golden circle tour with Heiner, the guitar playing German from the hostel, and three Spanish girls travelling together. We packed ourselves into the small car with a loud and somewhat oversharey German playing Rammstein, but it was way cheaper than proper tours and far more flexible. We stopped at the supermarket first for snacks and I picked up some food for the week, I tried to stick to canned and cheap stuff but even that was stupidly expensive.

We started at Þingvellir which I was able to really explore after just passing through the day before. I got some great pics and learned some facts, like how it hosts the Icelandic Prime Minister during the summer. I also believe it’s home to the world’s oldest parliament.

 

 

In the car Heiner mainly stuck to his rock music, but we all got a turn with the auxillary cord and even managed to play some Christmas tunes! David would have loved the whole thing – viking history, Rammstein, and geological weirdness. We stopped at other spots, like an amazing frozen lake, The whole country is like an alien planet.

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After that we went to this pool/spa place to try this famous rye bread, traditionally baked by burying it for 24 hours next to the thermal springs themselves. It was pretty nice, a little sweet but easily balanced out with salt and garlic oil. The thermal springs and the lake were so cool, they smelled a little eggy due to the sulphur, but that just made it all the more surreal. It’s very freaky, you’re walking on three inches of solid ice, then you dip your hand into a stream and it’s hotter than bath water. With the big lake and the steam rising up, it was amazingly cool.

 

 

After that was the geysir, which was fun to see again. I got such a fright when it exploded while I was taking a picture that I dropped my phone and cracked the screen a little – but it’s a great story so I wasn’t bothered! It’s quite literally an icebreaker (or a screenbreaker). After that we went to this weird little place that had a greenhouse full of tomatoes (Icelandic people love tomatoes – who knew) and a restaurant. It also had the Icelandic ponies, bred for horse racing, ans a small track. We got to see a little demonstration of one going round the track, they trot in a really funny way.

 

Before the light was completely gone there was just enough time to visit Gulfoss waterfall. It was truly epic, made more so by the fact it was half frozen. God knows how that even happens! Not enough safety measure though – a small rope fence stopping you from falling down a cliff face and into a waterfall, with icy ground. I saw two ravens flying around – Huginn and Munnin keeping watch on Midgard for Odin?

It was about a 2 hour drive back to Reykjavik so I snoozed in the car and had another nap when I got back. I made tortellini pasta for tea and chatted to my fellow hostel guests. Me and the three Spanish girls were due to retake the Northern Lights tour, but the forecast wasn’t good so we decided to forgo the bitter cold and stayed in with a beer. Plus, an American guy offered to drive us out another night to see them anyway, so it’s all good.

Iceland – Day 1

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I got up at around 8 and left at 9. It was still pitch dark and didn’t get lighter for another hour. My plan was just to explore Reykjavik, but Mum texted me to tell me that Simon, a family friend of ours, was in Iceland for work, so we arranged to meet for lunch. I walked up to Hallgrimskirja, the iconic cathedral, to take pics, then to the longship sculpture by the shore. From there I got some incredible views of the mountains.

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A little bird flew up to me so I gave it some almonds and fish jerky. Later I found out it was called a redwing. The longship looked out to the sea and the mountains and faced the Reykjavik skyline the other way. While I was taking photos I slipped on the ice and did a big clumsy dance that went on for ages before actually falling. Bizarrely none of the other tourists seem to notice at all, they didn’t laugh or ask if I was ok!

Once I had recovered I explored Laugevagur, the hipster street that also had some great tourist tat shops. I picked out some postcards and went into a coffee shop to write them. Simon said he would meet me in a place called the noodle station a little further up Laugevagur. We met and he very kindly bought me some noodle soup with peanuts. He had been out drinking the night before so really it was nice for him to meet me at all! We got talking to an American couple sat next to us – Rusty and Lois from Colorado, who were on the last day of their trip. Simon and Rusty both had military backgrounds so they had a lot to talk about. Eventually they offered us a space in their car for their road trip, and I jumped at the chance! Simon still felt rough, so he declined.

Immediately when you drive out of the city you hit these incredible icy plains and mountains. There are tiny cabins here and there, and the odd caravan. There are lakes and rivers which were completely frozen and very sparsely dotted fir trees. Rusty and Lois joked that they were kidnapping me, but they were incredibly kind to invite me along! Before going, I had joked that I would just tag along on other people’s drives instead of paying for coach tours, who knew it would happen on the very first day! We stopped at a few random beauty spots that caught our attention to take pictures, then made our first real stop at the geyser. I tried to get a video of it blasting off, but it proved difficult, especially with my shaky camera work. We briefly stopped at Þingvellir, where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates meet. Lois very kindly bought me one of Iceland’s finest overpriced beers (a warning for anyone planning a visit – EVERYTHING in Iceland is overpriced!) and we picked out a few more beauty spots. Rust took a shirtless pic with the mountains in the background, which is especially brave when you consider it was so cold it felt like your eyeballs would freeze. We also stopped to greet some incredibly cute Icelandic ponies, though one of them bit my arm!

They very nicely drove me back to the Bus Hostel before going out for some fermented shark tapas. I gave them a shot of brennivin bought at duty free as a thank you for my free tour and we listened to this German guy living at the hostel playing guitar. We parted ways and I got ready for my Northern lights tour.

I got talking to some girls from Kerry and some girls from the UK who were also going. The bus took us out to the middle of nowhere, where it was about -10°c. It was a clear night with some beautiful stars, but aside from a faint bluish line in the sky, they didn’t really show. However, it was still a gorgeous night and we got some info on the constellations and the milky way, and I saw a few shooting stars. I got back to the hostel and went straight to bed.

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The Case for Corbyn

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Since Theresa the Appeaser, wife of the head of a tax-dodging firm, u-turned on a previous promise and announced a snap election, the consensus has been pretty universal: Labour can’t win.

The reason for this stark prediction is the fact that the Labour party is currently under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. ‘Unelectable’, ‘scruffy’, ‘weak’, ‘boring’ – apart from any, y’know, actual criticism of anything he’s done, he’s been branded with every insult available to Rupert Murdoch. The biggest one being that he’s ‘unelectable’. A bizarre accusation in the context of his years as an MP for Islington North and the two Labour leadership elections he has won with incredible mandates. Looking at the facts, he’s one of the most popular politicians to come along in decades. Labour membership has increased by the thousands under him, his speeches attract huge crowds, not to mention all the adoring memes from his supporters. When tory-lite Labour MP’s tried desperately to stage a coup, even going as far as to change the rules to block hundreds from voting for him, he increased his mandate. That’s unprecedented. And when was the last time someone photoshopped Theresa May on the back of a unicorn?

But the polls! I’ve seen negative reports on Corbyn’s low popularity in the polls constantly since the election was announced. If the last year of political shock and upheaval taught us anything, it’s that polls are not to be trusted, yet the BBC parrots them as if they sought them from an all-powerful soothsayer living on a Himalayan peak. That is when the BBC isn’t providing a platform for N!gel F@rage, an ex-leader of a party with one MP who defected… But I digress. What I haven’t seen reported quite as much is May’s steady decline in ‘The Polls’ and Corbyn’s steady rise. Most likely to do with May’s half-arsed campaigning, turning up in a helicopter to deliver a boring speech mainly involving the words “stable” and “strong” with a few connectives to string them together. Meanwhile, Corbyn is whizzing round every seat in the country, giving media-ignored speeches with great gusto, to cheering crowds. But this is nothing new for him.

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Jezza has consistently been on the right side of history. Working hard, not for the adulation it brings, but because it is the right thing to do. He is a man of principle, a man who means what he says and sticks to the promises he makes. He protested apartheid while Thatcher was calling Nelson Mandela a ‘terrorist’. He advocated peace talks with the IRA years before the Queen was praised for shaking hands with Sinn Fein. When other MPs were spending half their time attending dinners and travelling by Limousine he was wearing CoOp shirts and jumpers knitted by his Mum.  He has the lowest expenses claims of any MP. He voted against the Iraq war. When people in his constituency were unable to pay Thatcher’s poll tax, he risked prison by refusing to pay himself. That’s some Robin Hood gangsta shit.

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All of this is massively at odds with his ‘weak’ and ‘dispassionate’ persona. The right wing media has infamously demonised him for the slightest perceived indiscretion. Not nodding low enough, ‘dancing’ to a war memorial, not wearing a tie… It’s pretty telling in any argument if your opponent attacks you for such silly and superficial things. Murdoch shrieks and points and Corbyn’s beard while multiple Tory MPs are investigated for election fraud. He’s also ‘mates’ with ISIS and the IRA, basically for not advocating indiscriminately bombing them, he’s a dangerous nutcase who will cripple the economy by feeding schoolchildren and providing a wage people can actually afford to live on. You know the indoctrination has worked well when people baulk at the idea of being paid more and having four days off. Don’t think of yourself or your families, workers of Britain, think of your poor millionaire bosses. And what can we expect? For years the working classes have been told not to aim their scorn at the bosses who don’t provide a living wage or stable work conditions, but at their neighbour who claims child tax credit. It’s extremely effective. Paint your multi-billion pound media empire, your Eton-educated MPs, your smug fascist mouthpieces in tweed, as their advocate. An Australian billionaire who controls a good size chunk of all news media? The voice of reason – look! he likes looking at boobs as much as you do! The guy who makes jam, cycles everywhere, and would refuse to pay a tax because you couldn’t afford it? Why he’s an out-of-touch liberal elitist with no idea how the world works!

I waste my energy though. The biggest obstacle to Corbyn becoming prime minister is not the reactionary right wing press. I expect it from them. It’s the actual out-of-touch liberal elite. Imagine joining the party that started the NHS, the party began by trade unionists, the party made to be a socialist voice for the working person, and then throwing a tantrum and leaving when a guy who believes in all of this gets in charge. It’s neoliberal Blairytes who brand Corbyn ‘unelectable’ and paint him as a ridiculous extremist. It’s them who still insist he is weak and completely unelectable even after, despite their mass effort, he held his ground and increased his mandate. And really, any man who can face David Cameron at PMQs and not make a pig joke weeks after that scandal broke must have a will of steel. I stayed up til 2 am making pig jokes on twitter when that news broke… But I digress. Centrist Labour politicians and self-satisfied liberal celebrities roll their eyes in despair at Krazy Korbyn and his allotment antics, patting themselves on the back for being so astute in observing what a fool he is. Really, they’re covering their own asses. All your mates are saying he can’t win, join in so you don’t look a fool. Also, despite outward concern for socially progressive causes, it’s cruel and unregulated capitalism that made their lives so cosy and they’ll be damned if they don’t cling to it while wearing a mask of benevolent concern for the human rights cause du jour. They hate the problems but love the causes. It’s vital to them that Corbyn loses because he’ll topple their ivory towers. Take JK Rowling, for example. Imagine writing a massively popular series of books about teenagers using magic to overthrow oppressive forces, then decrying an old man in beige who wants to feed impoverished children for being way too extreme.

The world of polished politicians towing the centrist line and faking respectability to get in and maintain the status quo for capitalism so it can screw over people in their own country and poison people abroad is over. We can choose what emerges. Right now, what is emerging is even uglier. Trump, Le Pen, pepe the effing frog… we are witnessing a previously unthinkable resurrection of fascism. Actual nazis are walking the streets unpunched and sharing memes about gassing people they deem beneath them. They get a couple of thousand views of youtube and that gets them a right to speak at universities, apparently. I don’t know if you remember but the last time this happened, softcore liberalism didn’t defeat them. It won’t this time. We must put in place an equal and opposite force, not someone who will hold hands with racist tyrants.

I see it from my peers too. The general idea seems to be that people like Corbyn – they think he’s a good man, he’s principled, he’s intelligent, he works hard, they like his policies…..buuuuuut. And it’s a big ‘but’,

“He’s got good ideas, but he’ll never win!”

“I like him, but he just doesn’s seem like a leader…”

“It’s just the way things are, unfortunately. If he doesn’t move to the centre he’ll never get in.”

It’s hugely frustrating. People see that the system is garbage and Jeremy Corbyn might just fix it, but they passively go along with it. They hold socialist principles yet turn down the chance to elect a socialist. They’re intelligent people who see that he’s a good man and a good politician, yet they buy into the rhetoric that he’s a passionless pushover despite all evidence to the contrary. They say ‘but Labour needs a less extreme leader to beat the tories!’ If the only way to beat the tories is by imitating their every cruel policy, then I would rather Labour not be in power and work as an opposing force on the back bench. People hold the power to vote, yet insist there is no way Jeremy Corbyn can be voted in. If you see what’s really going on and you have the power to change it, why are you passively accepting the ever declining status quo while the world descends into fascism? Will you fight this? Or will you perish like a dog? Vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

I was looking for a job and then I was looking for a job and then I was looking for a job and Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now….

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In the grand scheme of things, career-search wise, I’m doing OK. I have a degree, I have experience including an internship, I actually know what I want to do, and I’m not subject to racial discrimination in my job search. However despite my constant searching and applying  on Indeed all I’ve got back in two months is a handful of rejection emails from the few companies who actually bothered to send them. Oh, and a call from a company offering teaching work in China which I absolutely don’t want to do but genuinely considered.

Inamongst all the thinkpieces calling millenials entitled, or making fun of them for having ‘fake’ sounding jobs involving social media or having ‘digital’ in the name (someone took the time to make an actual sitcom on the topic), few seem to question why so many of us still live with our parents. I know one person my age with the same education level who is in full time work. The rest are doing masters degrees or working menial jobs in the hopes of finding something more fulfilling. My sister graduated in 2012 and found every job she wanted demanded years of experience and every job she applied to as a short term money maker felt she was overqualified and would have no loyalty. I’ve found the same problem, despite the fact I have a three-month journalism internship under my belt. In truth, the hunt for a job feels like a fruitless, crushing dirge.

Dramatic-sounding perhaps, but hear me out. My recent internship (a piece of driftwood just about keeping me afloat in a sea of career hunting) was not my first flirtation with intern-ing. Back in the summer of ’16, towards the end of my degree, I was delighted to get a call from a local company in Hull who were interested in getting me to work as a content writer for 8-12 weeks. Unpaid, of course, I couldn’t possibly expect to get paid now could I? Their promise was 8-12 weeks with a ‘very real chance’ of a job at the end. Twelve weeks is a long time but it would just about cover the rest of my student flat contract and I was almost guaranteed a job at the end. I went along for the interview in high spirits, it was a nice office in the city centre, and the staff seemed laid-back with lots of freedom. I was told that I was the most qualified candidate. I had a second interview, involving a basic competence test, all was well. I got a call from the recruitment agency woman who had called me in the first place saying they were offering me a week-long trial to check I was right for them. A little annoying, considering I was repeatedly told I was the best candidate, and it was an unpaid internship (I was essentially being offered a trial FOR a trial) but it was still amazing to get such an opportunity considering I hadn’t even graduated yet.

So I went in with my coffee and pencil skirt feeling very business-like. I wrote some blog posts, transcribed a few radio bits they did, had to do some ‘business to business’ copy which was about the most soul crushing thing of all time but hey ho. I felt all was going well. However, after going home on the third day the recruitment lady called me again. ‘They don’t know how to go about training you’ she said (they perhaps should have thought of that before they hired an intern). She told me to take the rest of the week off while they worked out what approach to take. With a furrowed brow I agreed, but told her I felt fine with how things were going.

Two weeks later, I had heard nothing. I emailed the recruitment agency woman asking her if, when I did come back, I would be coming back to an actual job or I would still be expected to work 12 weeks on zero pay. She told me it was the latter. ‘They’re only a small company, so they can’t offer pay at the moment’. I was tempted to point out that this was at odds with how often I had been assured of their rapid growth as a business, and to ask if everyone else who worked their was lucky enough to actually get paid. I replied that I had to decline coming back at all, that 12 weeks of no pay would essentially leave me homeless for a while. She understood. Oh, by the way, that ‘job’ was at a company running a search engine FOR JOBS.

I’m happy to report the second internship went far better. It only required one interview, I was able to work from home, I was paid £70 a week, given one-to-one training, and had to the opportunity to do cool stuff like interview comedians and write previews for art exhibitions. I came out the other side with solid skills and a sturdy addition to my CV. One month later, I still have nothing. Trawling through Indeed.com every day is a Groundhog-day like affair. Content writer, marketing, social media executive and so on and so on. Most are offering more internships, usually only pointing out halfway through the job description that they won’t actually pay you. Particularly with any kind of creative endeavor. They offer ‘experience’ and ‘exposure’, but such things do not put tofu on the table. Those that will pay are rare, and mostly require a candidate with 5 years of experience in the exact same job, preferably at the same company, and a relocation to London.

When you find one that seems imperfect, but you actually have a chance of getting, it sends you to a 10-page application form that needs filling out. You have a CV with all the same information the form is asking for handily put on one page, but they still want you to fill out the form. Call me a lazy, entitled millenial, but when it’s the fifth job application of the day and you don’t particularly want it in the first place, the impulse to give up on page 4 of the application is very strong.

Also while these companies ask a lot of their candidates, the effort is not reciprocated. Job descriptions are often quite badly written out, some with glaring spelling mistakes. Plus, they are often written so cryptically, so ridden with vague business jargon, that it is impossible to tell what the company does and what they want you to do. Take this for example:

“The role of Digital Marketing Executive will be to implement the content marketing strategy for this prestigious business, devising creative campaigns which will help to increase awareness, brand and drive sales and play a key role in driving the next phase of growth.”

Can anyone tell me what the even heck that means?

So where does this seemingly incredibly unsustainable system lead? Ultimately, it means only the children of the rich can get jobs. If you can’t find an internship you can do from home like I was lucky enough to get, you have to hope Mum and Dad are willing to pay your rent. After several such internships, you may finally get a full time job that pays, congratulations! Better yet, a close relative of yours works at the company, instant stability!

This market ultimately has to collapse in on itself. Denying  many young people the chance to support themselves for the convenience of businesses who are somehow disgusted at the thought of paying a living wage simply isn’t sustainable. It isn’t just Wetherspoons that takes advantage, but cozy white-collar office jobs. It’s a symptom of late stage, unregulated capitalism. Everything to appease the bosses, even if it means literally not paying a wage. Recently, a screenshot of an unpaid job at a London anti-slavery charity went viral. It’s gotten so bad that even my classically conservative grandma is shocked and appalled at the state of things. Colliding with other problems like the eye-watering rent prices in most cities and the accumulating student debt of those doing masters degrees to stave off the daunting search for a job, something has to give. And when it does give, I just hope it’s not the workers who bear the worst of it.

Bloody Hell

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NOTILE TE BASTARDES CORBORUNDORUM

It didn’t even take one day.

It wasn’t even noon before the pound sterling fell faster than Han Solo off the starkiller base bridge (sorry).

A matter of hours before Fuckface Farage admitted he should never have promised £350 million a week to the NHS since he can’t actually fucken do it.

No time at all before the UK lost its place as the world’s 5th largest economy.

I hadn’t even had my morning cup of tea before Pig Boy Cameron resigned, leaving the potential for an even worse (and unelected) haunted cabbage patch doll to take his place.

At this point, what’s keeping me optimistic is the hope that everything continues on this slide into chaos at such a rate that the public demands a return to the EU and Farage and his ilk are banished to Pluto.

But it’s not just this clusterfuck that has me turning from an optimistic young person to a jaded, disappointed twentysomething. To be honest, looking at what my country is doing is becoming harder and harder in recent years. I see no compassion, I see spite, bigotry, smugness and small-mindedness.

Take, for example, the microcosm of this kind of attitude displayed at Euro2016. Seeing Irish fans, whom I am claiming as my people thanks to my lineage, has made me smile. Seeing English fans has made me despair. Violent, bigoted, and arrogant – they’ve made us look small and stupid. Just look at this clip of English fans taunting refugee children and throwing coins at them. This is happening in TWO THOUSAND AND SIXTEEN.

The situation with refugees and and the reaction to it in general has made me feel physically sick at many different points. A certain inflammatory columnist (who shall remain unnamed to bypass the mini orgasm she no doubt has every time some talks about her) calling them ‘cockroaches’ was like a nightmare. Watching footage of Nazi rallies and propaganda films about the Aryan race in history, I shook my head and wondered how so many human beings could become so cold, so hate filled towards their brothers and sisters. Seeing that, and facebook comments on far right pages calling for them to all be shot and rejoicing as innocent children drowned, I realised the modern country I live in has every potential to fall into that precipice. And it physically hurts. How anyone can see the drowned bodies of people desperate to flee war and persecution washed up on a beach and think “good! now I wont have to deal with them as neighbours!” is beyond me. How anyone can throw things at children starving in tents behind chain link fences is baffling. No, not baffling, heartbreaking. It breaks my heart. And I feel utterly helpless.

Utter helplessness in the face of terrible things is one of the ugliest and most harrowing feelings in the world. Whether it’s watching disease take your loved ones, or watching poison enter the collective consciousness of your country.

I now live in a country where hate groups invade Mosques and harass people at prayer, where they attack Muslim women wearing headscarves in the street, where they talk about the people who gave us advanced medicine and our numerical system as “scum”. It’s like I’ve gone to a desolate, cold planet 70 light years away, I’m looking through a telescope, and I can see a distorted but sickeningly recognisable version of the kind of hateful atmosphere that lead to the holocaust. We think that it’s impossible, that we could never let it happen again. We’re wrong.

It’s already happening. To Roma people in Eastern Europe. To indigenous people across the planet. To Syrians. We are the same species as people who did these things, who still do these things, we are perfectly capable.

Margaret Atwood once said that people would remark that the dystopian, misogynist society in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ could never happen. She would reply that of course it could.

It’s our duty to constantly fight this kind of hate. Hatred is a powerful force. To quote Hannibal “you are capable of righteous violence because you are compassionate.” We don’t need righteous violence, but righteous force. If people invade Mosques, we should form blockades to keep them out. If people throw things at refugees, we should stand in the line of fire and throw them back. We must treat this as a war, not an invasion.

But we haven’t found our force. We tried facts. This referendum should never have happened, but Cameron needed to cover his porcine ass so here we are. The Remain campaign had a simple message; this is a bad idea. Leave had smarmy, smug, puffed-up rhetoric about ‘taking our country back’ and ‘finding our place’, we just had hundreds of respected financial institutes telling us leaving would be A REALLY, REALLY BAD IDEA.

Apparently, meaningless but sexy sounding rhetoric wins. My flatmate walked past a car on election day emblazoned with the Ukip logo and blasting “land of hope and glory”. You can practically hear the stamping hooves of heroic crusaders on horseback, asserting their superiority over everyone else. It seems the majority of this bratty little island preferred to stick to that fantasy and cover their ears when those goddamn experts with their fancy book-learnin’ tried to tell them not to cut off their nose to spite their Polish neighbour.

We saw something uglier than ignorance too. MP Jo Cox was assassinated by a man who gave his name in court as ‘death to traitors, freedom for Britain’. A man mainstream newspapers described as a ‘timid gardener’ rather than a terrorist and a murderer, which he absolutely is, presumably because he spoke English and was white.

The Brexit campaign then flew a plane over her memorial urging people to vote leave.

So here we are. Our currency is in freefall, Brexit campaigners are backing out of every overblown ‘promise’ they made about NHS funding and restricting immigration. Young people overwhelmingly voted to stay, but we were smothered by older generations voting against our future. Our next PM will be unelected, Scotland will no doubt leave (and I will applaud them) and doors will be closed to us forever.

So well done, Britain, you small-minded, xenophobic, racist, arrogant, pissy little island. You’ve fucked everything up.

Someone gave you a gun and you shot yourself in the foot.

Myself, and the rest of my generation, have lost whatever flimsy patriotism we had, and the irony is it will be more difficult than ever for us to leave the country.