Last night I went to bed restless, alarmed and frightened by the anti-immigration rhetoric coming from the Tory conference. It took me some time to dismiss the looming, ghoulish vision of Theresa May’s face that appeared every time I closed my eyes.
Next thing I knew, I awoke to find myself in a speeding car. We were going too fast and the driving was far too erratic for my liking – was it a car-jacking I wondered? To my alarm, it quickly became apparent that the car was out of control, badly so, and that the driver was either drunk or under the influence of something altogether more dangerous (power?). I wanted to get out. But I was stuck in the middle of the back seat, and the nearest exit seemed just that bit too far away to offer a plausible escape route.
I tried to keep calm and take deep breaths, but it’s difficult not to panic in situations such as this, where you know your well being and safety, as well as that of those around you, are being threatened by the recklessness of others. There was raucous laughter from the front, as the car sped up and swerved dangerously, narrowly missing a group of innocent passers by. This has to stop I thought, I didn’t ask to be here. If we keep going like this, a lot of people are going to get badly hurt.
On one side of me, blocking my exit via one of the available passenger doors, sat Carwyn Jones. He seemed oddly unperturbed by the situation, although to be fair to him he did periodically suggest slowing down, taking more care, but he wasn’t loud enough to be heard. He seemed more interested in trying to navigate, which I found infuriating given the perilous nature of our situation. Considering the speed at which we were traveling and the total disregard for the rules of the road, I couldn’t see it was going to help whether or not we found a short cut. I later noticed his map was upside down anyway.
On my other side sat sat Wee Ginger Dug. He was seriously pissed off by now, but he seemed to have a plan. He had a bag on his lap, and was busily checking the contents. He had supplies, a survival kit, a compass and was dressed in all weather gear. He was ready to go. As the commotion in the front cranked up a notch and we narrowly missed a head on collision with a lorry, he whispered in my ear ‘at the next lights I’m out of here, want to join me?’
It was tempting. I felt sick to my stomach by this point. With fear, foreboding and also anger. Who were these people who so recklessly took our safety into their hands?
But I was nervous. I wasn’t sure where we were by now, and I hadn’t planned for this. I felt unprepared. Staying in the car felt fraught with danger, but what if getting out was worse?
Suddenly, Carwyn started fishing in a carrier bag by his feet – he had brought some cassettes. How could he be thinking about that when our futures so obviously hung in the balance? And hadn’t he noticed that the car didn’t even have a tape deck?
‘This one’s a compilation I made myself’, he said, as we drove straight over a zebra crossing, causing a young woman with a baby to leap out of the way.
‘Its OK!’ shouted our driver wildly, ‘She looked foreign!’
What the Fuck? Was this some sort of parallel reality?
It was shortly after this that I became aware of a knocking coming from the rear of the car.
‘What’s that noise?’ I asked, to no one in particular.
Oh, that’s Andrew R.T Davies’, said Wee Ginger Dug. ‘He’s locked himself in the boot.’
‘In the boot of the car?’
‘Yes. He suggested we three all get in too, but I thought I was better off up here, where I can see. He’s just hiding in there, with his hands tied.’
With that, the car slowed slightly to take in a bend, and Dug was gone. He just opened the door and went for it. As we sped off I saw him do a commando roll, and then stand, brushing himself off. He looked slightly shaken, but happy. The last thing I saw was the sun light up his shock of ginger hair, before he strode off confidently in the opposite direction.
Now things were really bad, it was just me and these lunatics, plus Carwyn. Despite his seemingly calm appearance, I was starting to suspect he wasn’t doing so well. He had just emptied his cassette collection into my lap, and was dry heaving into his plastic bag. As he did so, the map fell to the floor and a copy of the Beano slipped out from inside.
My mind turned to all the people I would rather have had with me right now, for a variety of reasons. Ryan Gosling, Michael Sheen, Leanne Wood. Leanne would know what to do. She might not be up for a commando roll, Wee Ginger Dug style, but she would have a plan. She would be thinking straight, and she would have a good put-down or two for these maniacs in the front. She wouldn’t take any crap from them. How I wished she was here instead of Carwyn. She at least would have thought to digitise all her music.
To make matters worse the driver, I now realised, was on the phone. ‘Faster?!’ she would shout periodically, and then with a blood curdling laugh, she would push down further on the throttle, as the car sped on. To where? Over a cliff? A fatal collision? At this speed, it wasn’t a case of if we crashed but when, and I didn’t want to be around to see it happen.
As I reflected on my options, she looked up from the wheel, caught my eye in the rear view mirror and winked. Her eyes were a steely blue, but I saw then as her lid closed that her eye shadow was a shade of shocking purple.
I took a deep breath.
I thought about what mattered to me.
I closed my eyes and I listened to what my heart told me was the right thing to do.
Then I went for it. Before I left them to their own destructive devices, I said loudly and clearly:
‘I’m getting out – this is not for me. I don’t want any part of your recklessness and your disregard for other people, I’d rather make my own way.’
I don’t think they even heard me, I’m sure they hadn’t even noticed I was there.
As I sat by the roadside, the car sped off into the distance, and I heard the sounds of screams, fading into the distance.
Behind me I now noticed, there were other people, littering the roadside. Some looking slightly bruised. Had they been in the car too? I spoke to one of them as we started to walk together. He said he was a Doctor from Lithuania.
‘They threw me out a few miles back’ he said.
‘It’s a shame, I think they are going to need me before long.’
We walked on in silence for a few moments and I felt a huge sense of relief. I wasn’t exactly sure where we were headed, but there were a lot of options. I had my wits about me, and I wasn’t afraid any more.
I realised that it was a beautiful, clear morning, now that I was able to appreciate it. I might not know exactly where I would go next, but at least now my destiny was in my own hands….
If you are in Wales and you have this feeling too, then you don’t have to sit tight and worry about the future, feeling powerless. Do something about it. Join @yescymru and become part of the solution.
Don’t let’s wait for the Westminster Tories to drive us over a Fascist, Brexit cliff. Let’s plan for an independent Wales…