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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

The Blues Come for Brexit
Monday, August 22, 2022 @ 6:10 PM

We wonder, maybe, how things are getting along in the UK following the acrimonious divorce known as ‘Brexit’ – a split which left the departing defendant, his head held high, with little more than a caravan, an overseas bank-account he neglected to mention to the court, a hefty lawyers’ bill, and the cat.

The reason given was that we Brits were concerned about the un-elected people running the European Union – the second or third largest political and economic power in the world – as if we in the UK choose our own civil servants, or practice some form of proportional representation (rather than first-past-the-post).

A country where the current prime minister is eternally on holiday and the next one will be chosen by a handful of right-wing politicians who still evidently believe in the Raj.

The French at least have eleven deputies (members of parliament we call them) who represent solely those French people who live abroad. Imagine – eleven MPs exclusively speaking for the interests of the French diaspora overseas. But wait: in the UK, they want – finally, long after the Brexit boat has sailed – to allow us expats to vote for our ‘local’ MP according to his views on the price of sugar-beet. Not a dedicated representative and spokesperson for our interests, but the one chosen from our last place of residence.

That should water us down.

There are around a million three hundred thousand Brits living in the EU, without voice, presence, reputation or prominence. That’s around the same number as the entire population of Estonia or Cyprus. Or Glasgow.

Glory be! We need our own police force.

Here in Spain, we Brits slid quietly from second class Europeans to third class residents. We have a special card called the Foreign Devil’s Card (also known as the TIE) and we must queue in the non-European line. We can no longer have a British bank account and we must accept that we can’t get parcels from the UK as we used to. As to whether we will be able to continue to vote in local elections (that’s to say, in the municipality where we are now settled), that’s still open to doubt: until the Interior Ministry says otherwise.

It could have been worse. Imagine that Brussels righteously decided that we should all have been shipped back to what would have essentially been some camp erected (by Polish labour) on Salisbury Plain.

Pork-pies and Gentleman’s Relish are no longer easy to find in the stores here, although we can still watch British television, eat fish and chips at Dave’s and find an unread (and unreadable) pile of trashy free English-language newspapers dumped outside. The front-page leader with something about the local dog home.

The Spaniards wonder how we made such a mess of the whole thing. Even the Catalonians, keen to depart Spain for pastures unknown, have now changed their minds after seeing how Brexit has affected the UK.

Referendums aren’t a very good idea anyway. A popular vote supposes that there will be another one coming along in four years’ time; whereas, a referendum is a one-off. You can’t vote the Brexit a second time say the winners of the plebiscite. Although, given the chance, they would probably vote in a referendum in favour of hanging as well.

Things haven’t gone well, and the British politicians (and the media) will blame the coronavirus, the irascible Europeans anxious to put a spoke in the gilded British wheel, global warming, partisan attacks from ‘the Remoaners’, the war in the Ukraine, Northern Ireland or – best of all – the pesky French.

Who apparently hate us.

Or have forgotten us entirely. One of the two.

The British left the EU, not because of those un-elected foreign bureaucrats, or the lies on the side of Boris’ bus, or the propaganda from the Daily Express and other media owned by non-tax paying billionaires; but by the simple fact that, following from the implicit belief that we British are better than everyone else – if Britain couldn’t run the European Union (for better or worse), then it didn’t want to be a part of it.

Most Europeans, not to put too fine a point on it, think we have gone nuts. Britain is suffering from shortages (of trained workers, farm produce, foreign sales and promotion) along with extra paperwork and bureaucratic blockages, while we TIE holders living in the un-wounded remains of the European Union are now in the odd position of being better-off than our Island brethren.

At least we can stay here for longer than ninety days.

Like 7


jeffers45 said:
Tuesday, August 23, 2022 @ 8:53 AM

Bravo Lennox!

PablodeRonda said:
Tuesday, August 23, 2022 @ 12:38 PM

What a brilliant article! Satire at its ironic best.I wish I could have written an artile on this topic in such an eloquent and entertaining way.

jane27 said:
Tuesday, August 23, 2022 @ 4:15 PM

Brilliant, wish I had written it!

firstelement said:
Saturday, August 27, 2022 @ 8:23 AM

I’m in Britain (have followed Eye on Spain for years!) and it’s incredibly worrying what’s happening to the UK. Like you say, we have a zombie government, waiting for whichever imbecile gets the leadership next. There’s been a massive lurch to the right and it’s clear the government no longer cares about the people or even how that might look. There are going to be food and fuel riots this winter if they don’t change course and then we’ll see if we still live in a democracy. If anyone’s interested, a new movement called Enough is Enough has launched to fight back. You don’t need to be a leftie to join. Just worried about the state of our society.

ironwheels said:
Saturday, August 27, 2022 @ 9:04 AM

I am neither a coward nor a neanderthal , the EU is teetering on collapse .The British were not and are not the only ones disatisfied with the running of the EU . I agree that in the UK they have made a total hash of what was an opportunity to steer its own ship. Covid and the war in Ukraine have not helped anybody including the EU . Whatever you think about lies and what was written on the side of a bus , the fact remains that we were one of the highest financial contributors and thats why the EU tried every tactic to make us fail. Now Italy is questioning its membership and they have more debt than Greece had . Germany have rumblings as always being the ones who bail the rest out . I could go on but wont as I expect that these few words will provoke enough nasty comments as it is . All I will say is time will tell.

MarkMunns said:
Saturday, August 27, 2022 @ 9:46 AM

@ironwheels - Well said!

It is mind-boggling that anyone who realises that their country has been ruined by successive, parasitic, useless eaters - masquerading as 'leaders', then thinks that the solution to that is to allow fewer, even more corrupt, more distant, less accountable parasites to have even more power over more people.

In support of that delusion, they then ignore the obvious, but inevitable disasters, that have resulted from joining the EU once the 'sweets' that they were offered to get in the EU car, run out.

The problem was NEVER leaving the EU, It was joining this monstrosity in the first place.

As with all monumental mistakes, there will always be a price to be paid and the UK is paying it. But that is no reason to remain in a criminal organisation any more than it would for a mafioso to remain in the 'gang' because his lifestyle would suffer if he left.

After all, the clever ones, who never joined, have not suffered and are, in fact, now doing better than many members who were doing better than them 40/50 years ago.

lenox said:
Saturday, August 27, 2022 @ 9:49 AM

Hi - I'm the author of the above. The article is about the plight of the Brits living in the EU rather than the mess which, while no fault of theirs/ours, the UK has made of its truculent exit from the EU.
Still, we soldier on: forgotten, ignored and overtaxed!

jeffcaz67 said:
Saturday, August 27, 2022 @ 10:00 AM

Those who do not live in UK terrorities mainly chose too no longer live there, i want to be living within Spain again, we tried a few years ago but my hubbys job was not as secure as we had be led to believe. Had i still been there i would not be blaming the UK residents who chose with there free will for the problems im facing because the UK left the EU, which is controlled by Germany and France.. If life is not as you want it too be then 1 solution MOVE but do not moan about how fortunate you are to be out of the nightmare called the UK. Personally id swap places so fast .. its work which stops us , weve got a massive cost of living crisis because BIG power companies are GREEDY and government let them be able to rip the little man off .. My electric when living in Spain was £28 mth, didn't have any gas water was included in our rent of £495 mth Think how lucky you are to have a much cheaper more beautiful sunny warm country you now reside in. With much more friendly communities .

anthomo16 said:
Saturday, August 27, 2022 @ 11:02 AM

Lennox please keep it up I enjoy so much your weekly news an d views. I did vote for Brexit because of what the EU were demanding we pay but our Government has let us down, we had a massive opportunity to make us a great nation again and we have flunked it. Now there is no-one that I can think of who is capable of turning things around. I miss my winter months in Spain, now havi ng to do one month on and one month off is not the same. Becasue we the British are not buying, rents have gone up so much so I lose both ways, I can come for a month but have to pay for the months I am not there. Personally what a catastrophy! I am literally giving away 1200 euro a month!

rob_j1 said:
Saturday, August 27, 2022 @ 11:18 AM

I find comments bashing the EU as somewhat strange. All manner of "reasons" are given, but when we delve into the majority of them, they seem to be:
1. Things will fall apart in the EU in the future. Mark my words.
2. Money
3. Control (politics)

There are many sub points, but I would just point out:
1. Rather than worrying about a future that you have no idea about, maybe it's better to look at the problems of today. The UK is in deep trouble, whatever the reasons, and will really struggle to emerge intact come 2023 warmer weather (whenever that might be).

2. The UK was the sick man of Europe in the 70's, with 3 day weeks, and rolling strikes all over the place. After joining the EEC, they traded their way back to economic health. One of the great things the UK did, was move to financial services, which became the engine of the UK economy, bringing in billions. However, in leaving the EU, the use of financial passporting was lost. Talk about killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. Today, we have seen £1T in assets moved from the UK to the EU, 7,000+ financial services jobs, and 450+ companies. This isn't the end, either. By losing passporting, the EU will more than likely recoup several times more money in financial services income alone, than what the UK was paying in membership fees to be allowed to trade freely into a market of around 500 million consumers. No, the money discussion is a red herring today, I am afraid.

3. Every trade agreement requires a degree of compromise between each side that wants to trade. This is because, in the event of a disagreement, an agreed forum needs to be appointed where disputes can be resolved. Sovereignty appears to be a much used, but poorly understood concept. We've seen the loss of the Dublin agreement, which the UK could have used, in light of the immigration "problem", but that was lost with Brexit. The perplexing thing about the immigration "problem", is that we now see the UK suffering in many areas due to lack of staff. On so many forums, I see rabid, one-eyed nationalists telling people, effectively, "if you dont like it, go home". And many did. Now we see the results. The UK imports more than 50% of its own food, and while they may have wanted to harvest food from fields, this has become significantly more difficult, the end result being, perhaps not surprisingly, that yet more food need be imported. And then there is the constant discord between the UK and France, yet France supply the UK with much electricity. Both energy and food security are things that, politically, ALL governments should have taken more consideration of.

Do we dare delve into the pound sterling fiasco? Since David Cameron told his colleagues in cabinet in November 2015 that he would allow the referendum, the XRate went from 1.44 euros to 1 GBP, down to around 1.16/17 to one officially, and in actual transfers, you may get around 1.14 from a high street bank. Certainly, that's what HSBC gives me.

What does this mean? Well, sterling has lost around 1/3 in purchasing power since the referendum was announced. Given the energy and food issues, it means the UK has to pay significantly more. That inflation is a direct result of the decision to Brexit. What, it seems like, the entire UK is complaining about today, can be brought back to Brexit in large part.

Of course, the apologists will find all manner of excuses to avoid staring the results of their decisions in the face. No matter. When your next electricity bill comes in, or you go to do your next shop, take comfort in your newfound "sovereignty", and perhaps try to use that to pay those bills...

jeffcaz67 said:
Saturday, August 27, 2022 @ 12:10 PM

Anyone who continually blames Brexit for the current mess is blind.. ie gas has gone up because of the support for Ukraine, IN NOT CONTINUING TO BUY IT FROM PUTIN.. suddenly those who were majority buyers of his GAS are now in the 1 pool for it so the companies who produce it are GREEDY and put the costs up, just like they do with oil .. The World is fighting these challenges , British companies were told to PREPARE for leaving the EU..noone did. I voted for it and i would again, its not good to be in with 1 foot out, ie monetary policy the Euro. Spain Italy and i believe Portugal all have less work and Governments who do things change policies which rock there foundations. Im no TORY but at present we have no party i feel represented by. Labour i feel are a total mess.. they need to look back to the time when working people became its MP'S Too many who once upon a time would be Tories.. America is facing challenges just as we are .. SO PLEASE had we not had the world shutdown literally just after Brexit, we would be 3 years further along in building britain back to a vibrant independant country..

klaussailing said:
Sunday, August 28, 2022 @ 10:33 PM

rob_j1 ... finally a REALISTIC and true view. Thank you. I, as a european citizen are more and more NOT surprised to read the comments from british people about their country and the country they chose to live, Spain. Too, I do understand the reason of the deeply worrying fact that this people are so very uninformed and stuck in this nearly medieval way of thinking ... just as their politicians ... This is rooted in the system they are from ... They are lost

Dave11 said:
Monday, August 29, 2022 @ 8:51 AM

Klaussailing your points are CORRECT in every way.

Pasha01 said:
Tuesday, August 30, 2022 @ 10:54 AM

It was a close run thing nearly 49% voted to stay in the EU. Myself included. Sadly we have been forgotton about. People write as if the whole country voted to leave which is far from the truth. The right wing have run the country since then and what a mess we find ourselves in. This government will bring the UK to its knees or even its ankles. They only care for themselves and their cronies, they don't give a care or a damm about the general population. The vast majority voted to leave due to immigration and that is the truth, however the immigration they wanted to stop has not, it is the EU nationals that have gone back to their native countries. People we actually needed. Now we are faced with a PM taking office that has been voted for by the Conservative party members, not the country, many are older, can remember the Raj and want the UK to go back to Empire days. Anyone who thinks the Uk is going to rise from the ashes is fooling themselves. The 2 candidates are totally useless and are clueless, I call them clueless and witless. What trade deals of any value has lack luster Liz achieved, none is the answer and Sunak has been the Chancellor since Bo jo was elected, he has done very little, married to a very rich woman, he has not a clue how people will cope this winter with energy bills at £3500+ pa. He only found out recently how to use a contactless card and swans around in suits that cost thousands, lucky him, how can he know what its like to have an empty wallet? The average wage is about £27,000, many much less. Millions will face extreme poverty and many will die from the cold and related illness, this winter. If this is how the Uk is going to be great, take back control, I disagree. The EU has faults but leaving in the way the UK did is reprehensible. I'm now retired, I worked for 52 years but my pension is not great, I will manage, but why should energy companies who are making more profits than ever before charge even more at the expensive of the less well off or leave them sitting in the cold. The Uk taxpayer paid Shell over 700 million last year, why? Then theirs all the water Companies closing old reservoirs and not replacing them. Hardly surprising we have water shortages in a hot summer, then theres all the leaks, with millions of gallons going down the drains. Siphoning off profits to the far east. The Uk is supposed to be a wealthy country, in the G7, what a joke! We are going back to Dickensian times. At least the French and the Spanish have helped their populations, with fuel and electricity costs this year. I agree with other posters, this winter there will be trouble . Enough is enough for sure. Brexit a disaster for most and especially the young.

gerrynag said:
Friday, September 2, 2022 @ 2:29 PM

I completely agree with what Klaussailing said. The comments of the brexiteers on here just highlight that they are living in the past, and not in the modern world. They seem to want to return to a world where cricket was played on the village green, the local bobby knew your name, Britain had an Empire and everyone knew their place. Leaving the EU was the biggest mistake the UK has ever made, the economic damage will last for decades. One of the brexiteer poster´s dream is to return to Spain, well thanks to Brexit, there is not much chance of that, unless you are a well-off pensioner. The number of posts I see about British people saying, they want to come to move to Spain and work here is amazing. They are really surprised when they realise they can´t anymore. A common remark is, I wouldn´t have voted to leave if I knew that. The only people to benefit from brexit are the very rich.

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