MY friends, it has started. January 31 is now little more than two weeks away and it has started, already, here and now.

What am I talking about? Answer; an insidiously emerging unintended - or maybe not? - consequence of our imminent exit from the EU.

Just one of them - but a very nasty example - for now.

I refer, I'm sorry to say, to the gradual but perceptible emergence, post the 2016 Brexit vote of a smugly sinister - once covert, but now not - brand of toxically chauvinistic, little-England nationalism.

It's always been around, in some shape or form during my almost 70 years as a UK citizen, but never before have I been aware of its unpleasant ramifications being this visible here, in my own local community.

I am shocked; there's no other word for it.

I have European friends, highly intelligent professionals who have lived and worked in this country for decades who now feel uncomfortable simply speaking their own language in public, for fear of accusing looks and sometimes, words.

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For those UK citizens who may have, for years, held less than flattering views on anyone they deem 'foreign', suddenly the lid is off the pressure-cooker because those same people feel - undeniably with a tacit permission from Westminster - it is now acceptable casually - and it is this slovenly casualness which I find most shameful! - to denigrate and, at worst, insult anyone in their path from 'anywhere abroad'.

Thankfully, as far as I can tell, these people are still in a minority hereabouts and there are very many good folk and true, but in this day and age it is nevertheless scandalous that such a mood with accompanying antagonistic behaviours are there at all.

And if this country is to stand any chance of 'coming together' now, this highly negative, unkind frame of mind not only needs calling out but also dialling down.