30 March 2017, The Tablet

A view from Finland: ‘Lucky you to have those privileges; very strange to give them up’


It’s almost midsummer weekend, which is bigger than New Year here, writes Kate Sotejeff-Wilson. The country is shutting down, everyone is fleeing to the woods to light bonfires, jump from their saunas into the lake, and drink rather too much. It’s time to relax, enjoying the 24-hour sunlight while it lasts.

Then the bomb drops. Fifty-two per cent of Brits vote leave. How on earth did that happen? I meet a friend from Manchester who is half-Finnish. We rant and rave. I think of my grandfather, a member of the Polish government-in-exile in London during the war. What would he do?

My Finnish family and friends seem mildly puzzled. Why would a small island with delusions of grandeur about its imperial past imagine that it could “make itself great again”?

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