Articles, Blog

‘Time to Leave’ by David Hare, performed by Kristin Scott Thomas

December 6, 2019


I don’t understand why it hasn’t worked.
I don’t understand why I don’t feel better. Of course I didn’t believe them – nobody
did – when they said people would take back control. I mean, we’re not that stupid. What, they’re going to come and ask me, are they, what to do? And they’re going to do what I suggest?
Just because we left Europe? I don’t think so. We don’t even get the rubbish collected once a week. Before they took the service
away, we were consulted, we got a questionnaire through the doorway, they said How often would you like it collected? We said “Once a week”. Now it’s fortnightly. “Do you want your local hospital to close?” No. They closed it. I’m not that stupid. I’m not an idiot. When they said I’d get my country back, I knew it wasn’t true. But even so. The woman at the hairdresser told me before
the referendum: It’s a funny thing, it’s those of us who are least affected that feel most strongly. But she voted to leave. Well everyone did. Everyone I know anyway.
Winchester’s still Winchester, but we voted to leave. For years you could live on a modest income. Well we did, and not feel ashamed. The Common Market was all right when it was six countries with a Northern culture – thrifty,
hard-working – but it was bound to fail once the Mediterraneans flocked in.
27 countries sticking to the rules? I don’t know two countries who play by the rules. I don’t know one. If you can, find a gardener who doesn’t want to be paid in cash, I can’t. And don’t even try to get a man up a ladder without stuffing his mouth with gold. I don’t mind the BBC calling people who voted like me racist, because I know it isn’t
true. I always think the people who’ve come here are more English than we are. They have more
values. They look after their families. And I won’t say a word against anyone who does
that. But somehow, having decided to leave, it doesn’t
feel any different, does it? Now I thought it would.
I thought we’d be less angry. But we’re not. You see, it’s the anger, isn’t it? That’s what it’s about. It’s about the anger. It used to be the young who were angry. Now, funny – it’s the old. It used to be
Labour who wanted change. Now, funny – it’s the Conservatives. But I did think it would feel better than this. It doesn’t seem to have made anyone happy. Mine was an army family. My father was killed
in Northern Ireland, so it won’t break my heart to see the border go back up. Good fences
make good neighbours. They say we may lose Scotland. But I say you can’t lose what you never had. When I’m in the High Street, I think: Well we’ve been free for a year and what’s changed? I look around. The people haven’t changed. I haven’t changed. The anger’s still there. And it’s made me wonder what’s the
anger about? But the other day I was in the garden, tying
in the roses and suddenly I understood. From nowhere. I realised. Oh so that’s why it hasn’t worked. That’s why we’re all so unhappy. We voted to leave Europe.
But that’s not what we wanted. We wanted to leave England.

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26 Comments

  • Reply Deepak Kumar June 19, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    brilliantly written and brilliantly performed (of course Mrs S-T). Hats off to both of you, and a wonderful last line – "….we didn't want to leave Europe…..we wanted to leave England!".

    Many have been quite happy to see the EU blamed for many things and while there are always problems with institutions – and maybe they ARE serious enough to walk away from them – it is what fills the vacuum that really counts. A shambles of a government is certainly not what is required to state the obvious.

    Are we now making our laws, or is it corporations with a gun to the head of the government?

    A closer look at the EU directives and regulations might have helped during the "debate" if you can call it that, to be able to validate what is being done in the EU. A sham or sensible laws? Who knows, no one wants to explain it.

    But at the end of the day, if you build the housing your population needs (and associated social infratructure) – like we don't, and educate that population, you go a long way to giving folks the foundations they need – and you won't spend so much on housing benefit as a bonus!

    After that, if you [your tax system] favours producers and exporters, then the country will pay its way. We however incentivise asset stripping and debt through the tax system and selling our souls to the finance industry. We are sliding down the per capita wealth charts – our god is now something called "GDP", which essentially means that a house price boom fixes the economy apparently. Well GDP has risen now you've bought/borrowed for that super-expensive house? You see, easy isn't it.

    This has little to do with the EU – even the record immigration has come mainly from outside the EU.

    Lovely garden by the way! Took a lot of work I bet.

  • Reply mattllo1 June 20, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Rings pretty true. We allowed a very unequal society to develop. We rewarded the selfish and greedy and punished the weak, the poor, the less privileged, the old, the sick, the disabled.

    And amazingly, the very people responsible for this have managed to push the blame onto someone else; the EU.

    Brexit will almost certainly be a shambles and a catastrophe, but maybe it's something we have to go through to realise just how spectacularly we've been lied to and manipulated.

  • Reply Ryan Fallon June 20, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    In what sense does the Labour party not want change?

  • Reply John Evans June 21, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Beautifully observed and a wonderful performance. David Hare is a unique talent.

  • Reply El Rey June 22, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I hope more people are watching these somewhere, than what the Youtube counters indicate.

  • Reply Alec104 June 22, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Phenomenal actress! And very well written too.

  • Reply YoshiPeach Mario June 24, 2017 at 7:09 am

    First off, Brexit hasn't happened yet. That's why nothing has changed.

    And of course you have control back. Before, if you didn't agree with EU rules, then tough luck. You couldn't vote those who decide on those rules out.

    Post Brexit, provided it is a proper Brexit, we will not be bound by EU regs. When laws are made in Westminster and you don't like them, you can actually vote them out.

  • Reply Pedro Martinez-Vazquez June 24, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Kristin, stop acting.

  • Reply Archie Clifford June 27, 2017 at 8:45 am

    David Hare, you have the character say 'I'm not an idiot', then you have her describe how she feels now that Britain has left the EU, which makes her sound idiotic, because we've not left the EU yet. We're still two years away. And for the record, everybody who voted Leave isn't sad, we're still very happy with our decision. The people who have been poisoning the atmosphere in the year since June 23, with their constant bad loser moaning, doing the UK down, supporting a protectionist bloc that discriminates against farmers in India and Africa, are you, Mr Hare. I don't want you to leave Europe, I want you to leave England, which you clearly hate.

  • Reply New Thought July 8, 2017 at 11:04 am

    KST is sublime.

  • Reply frankinbolton September 9, 2017 at 3:54 am

    I would be your gardener for free

  • Reply yuuki hoffner October 2, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Brilliant work by the author, the director and Mrs. Scott-Thomas. This type of angry well off person does not only exist in England, they exist in every European country. Why did these elderly folks get this way? They are well educated, have everything you need for life and you are still angry and xenophobic, denying that you are racist? The answer is in the question. Your good life did not prepare you for social change, cultural change, change of life around you. Outside your beautiful garden. You believed in the end of history but suddenly history entered again, it is in front of you and you can't deal with it. Therefore the anger. Therefore Brexit.

  • Reply THAILAND NEXT October 11, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    i voted leave to stop the uk becoming a getto for scum from europe

  • Reply hawk1234 November 3, 2017 at 10:10 am

    As an european I think you have the right to leave but you have to lose also the benefits such as the free trade with us. It's too easy to leave and then keep trading without customs with the european economy

  • Reply Carey Parker December 24, 2017 at 5:51 am

    Blame Merkel's lego

  • Reply Public Public December 9, 2018 at 10:57 am

    leave brexit
    stay with europe

  • Reply Lee Peters December 12, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Is this sarcasm ?

  • Reply John Vicary December 13, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    A concocted illusion and millions fell for it – foolish

  • Reply BirdArvid January 24, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Having lived in both countries, I find the US very clearly modelled on the UK. The greed, the selfishness, the expansionism.. But there is also much to be admired in both countries. It's just very hard to see, in either country, right now.. I believe very strongly that Reagan, Thatcher and Hayek are the real founders of our modern woes; neoliberalism and in more and more countries, virulent racism, bigotry, misogyny and far-right ugliness, leaning towards fascism. Brexit, it seems to me, was yet another "populist" discussion hijacked by moneyed special interests..

  • Reply christianfrancoisdohmen Christian Dohmen March 12, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    Heartbreaking. ?

  • Reply Mariam lliubi April 15, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    i hate this actress she is so bad ???

  • Reply beanmcqueen April 18, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    2019 and this is more true than ever. Being angry makes you make very poor choices

  • Reply P Spence April 21, 2019 at 4:14 am

    Well, to be honest. as a Scot living in Scotland. I think most of the people that come to live here are more English than I am. Largely because they are English. Believe it or not, we're okay with that. What we are fucked off about is that you're stopping everyone else (not the Welsh or N.Irish) from doing the same. We're done. Divorcing you and sticking with the in-laws!

  • Reply Adi Adrian July 1, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Much Underrated

  • Reply motasim August 6, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Ever wonder why your ancestors never came back

  • Reply John White August 20, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    BREXIT is a wonderful thing for all Brits to say otherwise is to deny your freedom. leftist no matter what country they are in are the destroyers of their own nations.

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