Returning to Britain yesterday after two weeks in a distant country, I felt grateful to be home, and to feel at home. That’s not always been the case recently, as fissures have opened in British society, not least the bitter polarisations of Brexit. While I was away, news from here seemed angry, self-righteous and intimidating. The present is often grim, and the future – even the optimists admit – definitely uncertain. There’s much I don’t like about my country right now, most of it the result of our own choices over years. But distance gives you perspective and a slow Sunday railway journey, tired and disoriented but surrounded by fellow citizens, was like slipping on a favourite jumper. I was home and it felt fine.
It is true that we have far more in common than that which divides us. There’s so much more I love about these islands and their normally generous peoples than makes me sad. Whatever happens in the coming months and years, I hope we’ll see that we really are all in this together and so act with tolerance and kindness towards each other. We are all entitled to be – and to feel – at home here. It’s one of the things that really does make Britain great.