We expats are still under a cloud of uncertainty about our residency rights

“In complete honesty, I wouldn’t have taken the punt at all if I had to worry about visas and the right to work. I was 26, had never taught before, and it would have been too much of a risk and expense. If the job wanted me, terrific – if it didn’t, I’d go home. The lack of bureaucratic ‘fluff’ made the situation infinitely easier and the rewards all the more satisfying when the whole thing worked out.”

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Reflections on trial by media

“There is no easy answer. As soon as a news story breaks, a production company is placed in the impossible position of being seen to side with their star by not taking action or cutting their losses for the sake of their image. Netflix cut ties with Spacey as a result of the allegations, a decision that cost the streaming service about $39 million.”

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A very British fudge – why democratising the monarchy may be the best compromise

As royal wedding fever takes over, writer Alastair Stewart asks whether the best thing to do would be to keep the constitutional monarchy but make it open to election rather than by bloodline – a very British fudge. I RECENTLY had a conversation with a friend about the Royal Family. Fatigued by the constant coverage of […]

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Why it’s time for overseas MPs

Brits overseas are a curious bunch. For the folks back home it looks as if we’ve sailed away for sun, fortune and a better life. But that’s the cliche and prevailing stereotype of the ‘expat’. British citizens abroad are, well, just that. It’s impossible to categorise their motivation for leaving home, and it’s arrogant presumption […]

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Petition launched for expat MPs

ALASTAIR STEWART, a freelance writer and teacher based between Edinburgh and Almeria, has launched a petition to introduce Members of Parliament for British citizens living abroad. The petition to ‘Introduce MPs to represent the interests of British citizens living abroad’ is calling on the UK Government to acknowledge the unique concerns of British citizens across the […]

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Passports are a hint of things to come

“With little surprise, it turns out the ‘new’ blue British passports are now to be made by a Franco-Dutch company. The irony can’t hit hard enough. Lord Palmerston once spoke of Britain’s splendid isolation from Europe. In the 21st century, nothing could be further from the truth, no matter how much Brexiteers try to pretend otherwise.”

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Guns will stop the U.S government? Give me a break

“Seldom is any real attention given to the outright reform of gun ownership. Onlookers can expect messages of ‘thoughts and prayers’ from presidents, congressmen and senators and even the public after all too familiar of mass slaughter. There can be no other word than ‘system’ for the complicit and non-reactionary way in which governments, commentators and citizens battle it out over rights versus freedoms in the aftermath of shootings. If you want to restrict guns, you’re treading on the Constitution. If you don’t, you’re perpetuating a system of mass murder.”

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If Nigel Farage is calling for a second referendum, it’s time for a rethink

“If Nigel Farage admits the issue should be put to bed, it’s important to understand why that is. A democratic mandate must be granted to the pledges of a government so it can act. This can only be done at the final stage of negotiations when a clear package of proposals can be approved or disapproved. A referendum is only half the battle, and if May’s government is to act with purpose and conviction it should call another general election when the final settlement is clear and on the table.”

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Shouldn’t International Men’s Day be as important as International Women’s Day?

“The figures themselves are deeply troubling. In 2016, the suicide rate for males was more than two and a half times that for females. In 1981, 63 percent of UK suicides were male, but in 2013 the figure was 78 percent. The proportion of male to female deaths by suicide has increased steadily since the early 1980s. The NHS estimates that around 9% of men in the UK show signs of alcohol dependence against 3% of UK women. Testicular cancer incidences have increased by 28 percent since the early 1990s. The list continues.”

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Lights, Camera, Salmond!

For “whom the gods would destroy they first make mad” said Prometheus, as he learned of Alex Salmond’s new RT-backed television show.  After more than twenty years Salmond’s thespian need for attention and the drive for Scottish independence have finally now become an inseparable pursuit in his head. And what better evidence? RT, formerly called Russia Today, […]

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Why history matters to Catalonia

Was the Catalan vote for independence illegal? Yes. It’s that simple. The 1978 Spanish Constitution, agreed across the country in the years following General Francisco Franco’s death in 1975, makes two explicit provisions regarding Spain’s unity.    The first is that “the Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation”. Secondly, “political […]

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Why irredentism explains Brexit

IRREDENTISM is any political or popular movement intended to reclaim and reoccupy an area that the movement’s members consider “lost” or “unredeemed”. Most people know the concept, but not the word. It matters because it explains most, if not all, of the current Brexit debate. The Balkans is the textbook example of the topic. Ideas […]

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Can you compare Scotland and Catalonia?  

The leader of Spain’s Catalonia region, Carles Puigdemont, has called an independence referendum for October 2017, in defiance of the Spanish Government. The announcement follows Catalonia holding a non-binding vote in 2014, called a ‘consultation’, on independence in which 80 percent of ballots cast supported a breakaway, but with only a 35 percent voter turnout.  […]

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Moggmentum is the last straw of sanity  

‘Moggmentum’ is sweeping the UK and it’s gotten a little out of hand. The online campaign to elect Jacob Rees-Mogg Conservative leader is rooted in a pseudo-ironic play on the ‘Momentum’ movement that launched Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour leadership.  The problem is people presume contemptuous political positions must be held by reasonable people if […]

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Why Brexit matters in Almeria 

FOR British expatriates living in Almeria, Brexit is the elephant in the room. Everyone will have different ties back to the UK, but most will have some financial connection whether by property, pensions or family.  In the last two weeks, Theresa May’s pricey £1bn deal to forge a pact with the DUP represents the most […]

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Why May is wrong about human rights 

In the aftermath of the London terror attacks, Theresa May said she would change human rights laws if they “get in the way” of tackling terror in the UK. The problem with this is three-fold. Firstly, British security services already possess extensive anti-terrorism powers that have been denounced by Amnesty International as among “the most […]

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Why Tim Farron had to go 

Tim Farron was Liberal Democrat leader for just shy of two years.  In that time, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that singled him out as a key player with policies and a rhetorical flourish that felt like a kick in the teeth for his opponents.  And don’t fool yourself. Once, the Liberals frequently […]

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Who’s who in Almeria 

In Almeria, like politics everywhere, it can be a little difficult to know who the key players are, and that’s what we’re looking at this week.  Susana Diaz has been President of Andalusia since 2013. She’s also a leading national figure in PSOE, having contested the leadership of the national party in 2017, losing to […]

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May, Rajoy and ‘Brexpats’

With no shortage of irony, the Parnell Academy in Mijas has set up a ‘Brexpats Spanish Nationality Course’ where they teach how expats can apply to become a Spanish citizen if they don’t much fancy a decade of uncertainty over Brexit. Cynics might call this a headline gamble to show-up the kindness of Europeans next […]

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Boris, Brexit and Britons in Spain

Boris Johnson, with his straw-blonde hair and instant name recognition, is now the de facto leader of the campaign to leave the European Union. A former Eton schoolmate and long-time rival of David Cameron, the Mayor of London and MP is unique in being culturally formed by strong European antecedents all while rejecting the EU: he was […]

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Why Trump matters to Europe

In the aftermath of a disaster, it is often easy to think the event was somehow inevitable. Even for seasoned politicos and spectators alike, the election of Donald J. Trump to the White House has surpassed Brexit as a seismic global game changer. Why does it matter for Britons in Europe? Simply, America’s economic weight, […]

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Why remarks about Scotland from Spanish politicians don’t matter

Last week, Esteban Gonzalez Pons, who leads the Spanish delegation of MEPs in the European Parliament’s largest political grouping, said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s demands for Scotland to stay in the single market were “impossible”. The comments are the latest in an intermittent and sporadic series of remarks from members of the Spanish Government iterating […]

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Terrorism can’t become normalised

 The most recent attack in London is a horrific reminder of the continuing vulnerability of British people to indiscriminate murder. The third such attack in three months has seen a wretched pattern emerge. Absolute horror ensues, the emergency services rally to their duty; heroes prevail and a torrent of ‘we will not yield’ rhetoric flourishes […]

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Brexit, the game show!

REMEMBER ‘Deal or No Deal? Noel Edmonds chinwagging to a fictional banker as players tried to deduce the random chance distribution money in red boxes. Don’t dismiss the premise. It was genuinely nail-biting stuff before the faux tension faded after a few seasons.  And now politics emulates the game. Theresa May seems to be having […]

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Review | ‘The Broken Journey: A Life of Scotland 1976-99’ by Kenneth Roy

That’s extremely important given today’s politics. So much of Scotland’s past is used as a resource to fuel arguments, on both sides, of the constitutional debate that it’s rare to find a rhizomatic reading of history concerned with how well the system worked. How the Scottish justice, health, education systems operated with and through the Scotland Office; its ministers and its instruments and scope of its power in Scotland make for a fascinating read and serves an accessible index of political parties and policies still asking for your vote today.

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