Richard Pierce


Day 297

So, the UK finally has a Prime Minister of colour, Rishi Sunak.

The problem is that he’s the leader of the party of racism and anti-immigration, and therefore, by default, doesn’t care about making the UK a more multicultural, diverse, and equal society. The party he leads is directly responsible for the economic dire straits the country is in. He personally is responsible for the economic direction this country has taken over the last three years. He is an avid Brexiter, supports breaking international law, thereby endangering the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. He had a Green Card to work in the US (not a good look). His wife (the main bread winner of the family) was, until the adverse publicity threatened to engulf him, registered as non-domiciled, which meant that his family was paying hardly any tax into the Treasury he was at the time running. He supported Boris Johnson until he decided he wanted the Prime Minister’s job for himself. He pledged to give more government financial support to areas with great deprivation – funding which then went solely to constituencies which had Tory MPs, and which, on the overall scale of deprivation we’re seeing in this country right now, were actually fairly non-deprived. And, finally, he has a criminal record, having had to pay a fine for breaking lockdown laws while he was the Chancellor. I’m sure there’s more, but even that little list makes him (and his party) unfit to be in government.

Yes, we need to be thankful for small steps towards progress, but let’s not be misled into believing that Sunak’s accession to the highest office (and accession it was rather than election) signals any significant change in the political direction of this country, nor in government policy, nor in the diversification of this country.

The colour of tyranny and oppression is irrelevant.



Less than a mile away from the airport, Aggie stops, not short of breath, not sweating, aware that she has to stroll into the terminal, not go racing up to it like some demented dervish, not draw attention to herself by flying across the tarmac more quickly than any powered vehicle. Sometimes, when she’s this elated at the capabilities of her body, she does wonder if she could fly if she somehow were able to grow or fashion wings which would be able to carry her weight, asks herself if this miracle of flesh and bone she lives in would be able to deal with the thin air at great height, or if she would have to fly so low and close to the crests of the waves that she would risk being swamped by them. She smiles at the thought of having a pair of wings like an angel, dazzling white and made of millions of weightless feathers. She looks around. No-one’s noticed her, no-one stopping to ask her if she needs a lift. Darkness is most often the best friend she can have, although it scares her, especially when it looks like her cathedral has disappeared, although that fear is now compounded by the dreadful thought that darkness could take Lily from her, that it could swallow her when Aggie’s not looking, and that she could be all alone again in a world she doesn’t understand the meaning of. She scratches her forearms, feels the scars of her harm flexing under the skin of her fingertips, and pulls her hands away from herself.

In the terminal, which is surprisingly free of panic or madness, she walks up to the counter of the airline she flew in with, puts on her best smile and that cut crystal accent. ‘I need to return to the UK rather earlier than I had planned,’ she says. ‘I have an open ticket and was wondering if you could find me a seat on the next available flight.’ She puts the ticket on the high shelf between them.

‘Just a moment, please,’ the young man behind the counter says. ‘I’m sure I’ll be able to do something.’ He smiles at her briefly, one eyebrow rising and falling so quickly no-one but Aggie would have noticed it.

‘Thank you ever so much,’ she says with that gratified tone of voice she’s heard upper class women use so often when they’re trying to get their own way. But she means it, she actually means it. She will be so grateful if she can get out here before the light of day comes up over the horizon.

‘If you don’t have any baggage,’ he says in his sweet American accent, barely old enough to buy alcohol in this country. ‘I can get you onto a flight that leaves in a coupla hours.’

‘All I have is my overnight bag,’ she says, holding it out in front of her. ‘I was only meant to be here for a few days, but plans change.’ She smiles again, thinks of Lily to make her smile even broader, more open, more genuine, real. ‘I’m sure you know what it’s like.’

‘I sure do, Ma’am.’ He presses a few buttons. ‘That’s all done for you. Can I see your passport, please?’

Aggie puts it on the shelf next to her ticket.

He looks down at it, and up to her again, his eyes not moving away from hers for an age. ‘It’s a shame we can’t change plans for each other.’

She doesn’t look away either. ‘That’s a very kind thing of you to say. In another life, perhaps.’ She’s astonished at herself, and takes her passport and ticket from the shelf slowly. ‘Thanks again, ever so much for your help.’

‘You’re more than welcome, Ma’am. Have a safe flight.’

‘I hope so, I hope so.’ Aggie moves away, no-one behind her, but best not to linger. God knows what obstacles lie in Security.

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