“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.”Read More We expats are still under a cloud of uncertainty about our residency rights
Brexit makes me angry. It makes me very angry. This, as they say, might just be the proverbial understatement. There are no gritted teeth, just a visceral sense of powerlessness. I live and work in Spain and have done for the last four years. I spend three months every year in the UK and the […]Read More Brexit makes me angry, and you should be too
The debate over Brexit isn’t about Brexit anymore. It’s about democratic accountability and the limits of referenda in modern politics. They are, bluntly, a fad. There is no stipulation or law that mandates their results be taken as gospel nor a limit as to how many ones you can have. According to the House of […]Read More It’s time to call Theresa May undemocratic
When proposing better voting rights for expats abroad one of the most common questions is ‘why?’ The argument follows that if someone has left the UK, there’s absolutely nothing the British government could do to affect them. From the signing of the Schengen Agreement in 1985 to the Brexit vote in 2016, this argument held […]Read More Votes for Life must only be the beginning
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 […]Read More Petition launched for expat MPs
“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.”Read More Passports are a hint of things to come
Splutter your coffee all ye may, ol’ Dave is coming back to play. Such is the nursery rhyme that will bewilder future generations if there is any truth to it. Shock at the prospect should not discount the very real consideration that David Cameron, the not so recently departed Prime Minister, should rejoin Theresa […]Read More Theresa May should bring back David Cameron
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 […]Read More Why irredentism explains Brexit
The funny thing about Spain and Great Britain is they’re really the two distant cousins who always wrangle at family gatherings. Over the last three years alone, the Spanish Government has rebuffed Scottish independence, threatened the rights of British expats in the EU and promised to veto post-Brexit access to the single market. As a […]Read More Why Spain and Britain are two peas in a pod
Gibraltar is only a bugbear to Spanish people when it’s mentioned. It seldom is. How many times do you recall outrage and protests outside the U.K embassy in Madrid? No. One must be careful to avoid thinking the Spanish see Gibraltar as some kind of occupation. It’s neither a nightmare of history or a daily […]Read More Gibraltar doesn’t, shouldn’t and won’t bother the Spanish
For 30 years Michael Heseltine has been remembered as the man who toppled Margaret Thatcher as prime minister. And Heseltine, at the age of 83, is at it again. Since 2010 he has served in government advisory roles to David Cameron and Theresa May. Until last week, that is, when he was sacked after backing […]Read More The old men in grey suits should be listened to
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 […]Read More Why Brexit matters in Almeria
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 […]Read More May, Rajoy and ‘Brexpats’
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 […]Read More Boris, Brexit and Britons in Spain
The idea of Europe and the practicalities of Europe are, by and large, the differences between resident UK citizens and British expats. For many back home, it’s not unfair to say that Europe is seen as a behemoth of bureaucracy or the political right’s nightmare child that inflicts red tape, open borders and pedantic rules. […]Read More At home and abroad: What does Europe mean?
Last week, The Independent reported that David Cameron’s Government had agreed with a House of Lords committee finding that referendums “cannot be legally binding in the UK, and are therefore advisory.” The rediscovery is a deeply embarrassing one for Theresa May because it gives a hint of the direction her predecessor’s government would have taken if it […]Read More The UK is not coming apart at the seams over Europe
A peculiar thing happens to British people when they move abroad, and we’re all guilty of it. We might take the plunge and set up camp in another country, work there and live there for many years, but we never stop calling each other expatriates or ‘expats’. The term is remarkable when you stop […]Read More Expatriates need to stop calling themselves ‘expats’
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 […]Read More Brexit, the game show!
“A case in point is that the supposedly politically kindred likes of Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine are condemning their own prime minister. It’s more telling, still, that the one-nation mantra was borrowed unapologetically by Labour leader Ed Miliband in 2015 and he wore the banner with greater accuracy than either Cameron or May.”Read More Has May got a one-nation Brexit policy?
“Despite all of this, the Spanish Government still contests Gibraltar’s sovereignty, all while forgetting its own territorial arrangements.”Read More Gibraltar doesn’t, shouldn’t and won’t bother the Spanish
“The moral, practical and political appetite to restrict universal suffrage makes a change unlikely, even though society already curtails rights based on age. Declining ability and the diminishment of mental faculties in elderly people have prompted regular calls for mandatory driving tests for the over 70s. Qualification for jury service stops at 65 and previous eligibility for conscription during the Second World War was capped at 51. Should these restrictions, in light of the referendum, be expanded to include voting rights and if so, how?”Read More Should the over-60s be banned from referenda?
“There are innate, widely shared moral standards in our society about what is acceptable and unacceptable in public life. Much of it is common sense, otherwise, it’s the product of family, institutions and generational veneration of esteemed figures. The bitter consequence of creating good citizens over critical thinkers is it’s creating a dissonance and disbelief that pure deception could be taking place in broad daylight. ‘Not here’, they say. ‘Surely not, must be an explanation for it’. Yet we’ve crossed the Rubicon with rapid speed.”Read More Political rhetoric isn’t at an all time low, it’s changed forever
“The language of the Leave campaign and the reason they triumphed is that they accurately, albeit accidentally, highlighted how a rise in EU values showed up just how undefined British values were in the 21st century. The monumental challenge of coming up with a set of values in a campaign window is why Leave never said what British identity was, only that European identity was not the solution. A cop-out, if ever there was one, albeit a successful one.”Read More The absence of British values is why Leave won
‘With no loss of irony, Brexit doesn’t pose the biggest risk to the UK. Here and now, quietly under siege, is the constitutional settlement which has governed the United Kingdom together for more than 300 years.’Read More We didn’t have a revolution, we have a threat to our form of government from within
‘What is clear, however, is that like a patient who has voted to get better, it’s lunacy, improper and downright unprofessional to deny the consultation of, prognosis by and treatment from professional doctors who have decades of experience. Why would the Government want to deny the expertise, opinion and voice of 650 full-time MPs elected to represent the very people whose will they now want to implement?’Read More A snapshot of Brexit legalese
‘Nevertheless, the Spanish and the British have more in common than their foreign policies might suggest. Both countries, perhaps more than any other two, are littered with monuments to their past imperial glories which can legitimately be said to have shaped the modern word over the last 600 years.’Read More Why Spain and the UK should be natural allies
Why we deserve the level of EU debate we’re gettingRead More We deserve the EU after this level of debate
For a real insight into the British attitude toward Europe in the months ahead, it’s the Eurovision which is the most indicative of British feelings to our continental neighbours. We participate, we watch and chortle at the perceived weirdness and the stereotypes of other cultures but we never truly engage in it. We’re sort of just there, awkwardly caught off guard as if we’re at a party where we don’t really know many people and are half-heartedly dancing until our real friends arrive.Read More History is written by the victors, so how will we remember the EU?
Do most people understand how the EU works?Read More Who understands the EU?
That’s not even the weird part. Cross over from Spain and your next obstacle is to walk across North Front Airfield. To divine an understanding as to why someone thought this design was a good idea is to divine the meaning of life at the same time. For all that Gibraltar looks British it’s probably the last hold out against health and safety as 747s are taking off from a runway which intersects Winston Churchill Avenue, the main north-south street, which requires movable barricades to close when aircraft land and depart. The History Channel programme Most Extreme Airports ranked the airport the fifth most extreme airport in the world and it’s no wonder.Read More Gibraltar might be living history, but it needs to change
My country: What does it mean to me when I’m abroad?
This question forms a remarkably regular part of your thoughts when you’re sitting a thousand miles from home and 347 miles from the nearest British embassy in Madrid. For some the answer begins and ends with a British passport or the inconvenience of customs or the ridiculously high phone tariffs that signal being abroad. For others, the question never even occurs, but for those of a more pontificating or alarmist disposition, the question becomes whether or not the UK can protect its citizens if they get into real trouble abroad.
Democracy in all its forms is delightful. One flick through the news channels is enough to see that millions are still denied the right to vote because of strife, repression or fear. But democracy relies on the electorate making as informed a choice as possible. If knowledge is power, then I worry that all political parties have missed a beat with Europe.Read More Do you know how the EU works?