Just to finish the lovely day in the life of British politics a little incident I witnessed on the day of the referendum that (if recorded) could easily become a flagship ad for the Leave campaign (not that they needed it after all). Imagine London city. Moorgate underground station. Peak hour. A tube carriage packed to the point of people unwillingly but firmly pressing into each other with their hot sweating bodies. Chockablock would be the best way to describe it.
Suits and skirts are getting wrinkled and the ambience is charged with impatience. A familiar beep is informing the lucky ones inside and the desperate outside that the doors are about to close. But at the last moment a sizeable bloke with a loud growl slams into the closing doors somehow creating space where just a second ago there was none. The situation is complicated by the fact that the trespasser is not alone. He is accompanied by a large black suitcase that also makes its way into the dent created in the first line of the carriage defence.
A murmur of indignation fills the air. Looks are being exchanged and brows are being frowned. Finally, after a long struggle with himself, a spectacled gentlemen carrying a reasonably sized briefcase dares to express his disapproval. In the most polite way he addresses the owner of the large suitcase saying something feeble about his foot being stepped on. The public freezes in anticipation twisting their heads to see the ending. So the bloke turns his broad shoulders around (causing another human wave in the carriage) and in the most profound eastern europian accent he literally shouts at his victim with the outmost aggression: SORRY, OK?
This ends the confrontation in the most efficient and bloodless way. Everyone turns back to their respective phones not daring to emit a sound. At Euston the suitcase leaves the carriage drawing his owner after him. Everyone looks awkwardly at the guy who got stepped on and shouted at by a ‘bloody foreigner’.
Please don’t take this the wrong way. The owner of the suitcase could have been native British and the victim could have been a Polish immigrant. Britain is not filled with aristocrats, Sherlock Holmes lookalikes and Downton Abbey characters. But the irony of this exact coincidence on the referendum day was too much to hold it in.