I was heartened today by seeing a picture on Twitter that showed a Yorkshire flag on the left a Union flag in the middle and a European flag to the right. The caption read "It doesn't have to be either or."
Indeed it doesn't.
I woke up this morning with stiff knees and said to my husband: "Bugger Brexit. I need to live somewhere warmer. Let's go and live in Spain."
However, I'm not sure that's what I actually want. I love the more highly-marked changing seasons in northern Europe. I love the rich culture in Great Britain.
For the last ten years we've lived near Manchester and having spent our youth living near Birmingham, we appreciate being near a big city again. Technically, we live in Greater Manchester but our little town used to be postally described as Lancashire. (Apologies to my like-minded friend who put the Yorkshire flag up on Twitter today.) That Manchester voted Remain, with a very respectable majority, is a bonus. Becoming Mancunian does not negate my time in the Midlands or the thirty years we spent living on the south coast. We've also lived and worked and generally spent a good deal of time in other European states. All of these places have influenced who we've become.
But here's the thing. Manchester is part of Great Britain, that is still currently part of Europe – in fact is still will be even after Brexit – and Europe is part of the world. When we finally meet the inhabitants of other planets, we'll do well to recognise that Earth is part of the universe, not something separate from it.
So if we follow this set theory through, Remainers can cheer. Brexit will make things dammed awkward but it can't undo this bit of set actuality. We are all global citizens whether we want to be or not. Our overarching set is that of the citizens of everywhere.
As I said recently, maths has never been my strongest subject, but set theory I understand well. Much of it applies to languages and those I know about. Beats me how certain Oxbridge educated individuals are failing to see this.