Today is a sad date. The last day that Great Britain is a member of the European Union. Tomorrow, on the first day of 2021, everything will be different. And I, for sure, will miss the island and my British friends. The right occasion for a few lines.
Yes, I am a child of the old Federal Republic. Grew up in the west. London was closer to me than Dresden, Birmingham more familiar than Halle an der Saale. I've liked British cars from the start. Collecting Jaguar brochures when the driver's license was light years away. And, like so many of my generation, I loved the music they made in the UK.
Beatles instead of ABBA
Wherever possible, my pocket money was in records (an analog sound carrier) the Beatles invested. A preference that didn't necessarily meet with approval from older members of my family. Wouldn't I rather buy a record by this nice Swedish band with the 4 letters instead of English music? Yes, ABBA, of course. No, the ABBA sentimentalities only snowed into my car with Saab. Just as it took me some time to understand the aversion to what was coming from the British.
The enemy, several wars that had been waged against each other, that was firmly anchored in the minds of the ancients back then. That didn't affect my liaison with the island. One of my best friends at school came from London, my first car was a MINI. An adventurous, hot experience that literally came to a fiery end.
But the imprint remained. An open machine gun came, and that I like Saab so much has something to do with the kingdom again. Real Saab engines can hardly deny their British roots, neither can the interiors and their design. The UK was one of Saab's most successful markets for a reason. In Great Britain, the brand was in a world of its own, delighting the British with special editions just for their market until the end.
A bit of a home game for which only a production in the kingdom would have been missing.
I will miss Great Britain
The British Saab Club, of which I was a member for a few years, was at times the best organized and most active outside of Sweden. In the present the club is fighting. The Saab community is shrinking noticeably, Covid-19 robs what makes a club. No events, no being together and therefore no cohesion.
And because we are not only living in times of pandemic, but also of stupidity, selfishness and myopia, tonight the United Kingdom and the European continent are breaking apart. We are moving away instead of standing together, will need passports again to enter, and my sadness has nothing to do with politics.
Yes, I don't like to suffer everything that comes from Brussels either. But as long as no one has a better idea of a peaceful, open Europe, this bureaucratic, restrictive, hard-to-like Union is arguably our best home.
I will miss Britain. Maybe it never made it politically in Europe? Others have to decide that, and there will be plenty of clever columns on this subject over the next few days. But the island and its culture were always present in my heart and shaped my childhood, my youth and my life.
Friends, I am sad that you are leaving. I already miss you today!