Before the independence referendum in Scotland in 2014, dad moved all my assets from Britain and put them in different funds and things elsewhere in Europe and America. He never moved them back, because he “didn’t like the look of the British economy”. After the last few days, I’m kind of glad that he’s so anal retentive about these things.
Since the vote on Thursday, Mark and I have talked about a lot of things, and planned our lives in this way and that. The problem for Mark is that for him to become this Nobel laureate in the far distant future, he needs to do a Masters and then maybe a PhD. But the vote on Thursday basically put a spike through the heart of British science.
Case in point: his faculty has about one-third British students, one-third non-EU ones, and one-third EU students. Since racists and xenophobes are now running rampant, telling the non-British students that they should pack and go home, the atmosphere is tense. Also, tutors and teachers, lecturers and professors in the faculty is 70 per cent EU-citizens. They’re now worried, and a few of them plan to move back to the continent.
About thirty per cent of the research money available for grants come from EU programs. If you suggest to anyone there that the British government, particularly led by someone like Boris Johnson, will replace that money, all you hear is a hollow despairing laugh. The ones hardest hit by drops in funding aren’t the renowned professors and star-quality lecturers. It’s post-graduates whose projects won’t be funded. And if those are not funded, a lowly masters student like Mark can’t get his degree. And if he can’t get his degree, then his science career stops here and now.
Mark and I have come to a decision, thus. We’ve talked to dad about it. We have no idea how the economy will change over the coming year, so we’re going to gear down. This house, it’s going on the market. We’ll use that money for Mark’s degree in another country. It’s his house, after all. He grew up in it. But it’s just a house.
We’ll get something smaller, cheaper, and spend the next year or two in a shoe-box in a road. We don’t know when the money flow stops from the EU to British science. Maybe it’s immediate. Maybe it takes years. But the faucet will dry at some point.
When I’m finished with my degree we’ll leave Britain. We’ll go to the continent. To Sweden. We’ll get that degree for Mark. I’ll make a Swede out of Mark.
It feels like we’re slinking out the door, like we’re running away. But there’s no way I’m going to allow that furnace that exists behind those pretty ears to be cheated out of a future by a stupid dumb vote. I can write anywhere. He can only work where there are facilities, funds, and research grants. And that where isn’t here anymore.
I love my man. I could never describe how much. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him. Living in a shoe-box isn’t much of a sacrifice. Still, it feels like something is ending, without something new beginning. These years here seem like they’ve gone along a pretty country road, and now we’re at the end of it, and that end is an ugly open pit mine of sludge.