Monday, July 18, 2016

We Will Stay (Probably)

While we are all reeling in shock from the ghastly Brexit and the insults from the British Roundheads, a number of local 'please-don't-send-me-home' groups have been set up by the Britons hitherto living peacefully in Spain, France or other parts of the European Union. I'm in one and have joined a couple of others. We need some energy here, as there is no one (no one!) to speak for us or represent us.
However, we are now beginning to be spoken of and written about (usually with a photograph of fat Englishmen playing pool in a bar full of Union flags - I would never go to such a place) as if we had just been discovered by the British Press, adding fuel to the great revolution sweeping their unfortunate and divided country.
The Brexiteers (the Roundheads) think we are traitors, while the 'Remain Camp' wants us to back them in their politics (and later they will probably forget us again, if the status quo is resolved). For the moment, we are useful to both sides.
Some of the Spanish town halls have told us not to worry about all this stuff happening so far away, and to get back to our daily activities (swelling the cash registers of the local businesses while being tiresome about the local dogs). The British ambassador has said much the same thing... don't worry. We have it all sorted...
Spain is nevertheless keeping a watery eye on us, while noting with some enthusiasm that tourist numbers (generally manipulated by the INE) are seriously up, as other destinations become less attractive. Ex-pats may have trouble (thanks, Hacienda) in renting out their apartments to this sudden and welcome increase in visitors. Then there's the issue of the declaration of all property, cash and investments outside Spain (Modelo 720). But, as we become an ever smaller part of the invisible export, we are ignored even harder by the Ministry of the Interior.
Which, again, is why we need representation - a Champion.
Things could be bad in the next few years: work-permits, visas, the end of EU-backed hospital privileges, perhaps even quiet deportation - as third world citizens - in some cases.
In my own town, where the Brits largely brought the place to life in the sixties and afterwards, there is still not one sign or street or building to honour our presence. If we were to all leave suddenly, we would be as quickly forgotten as were the Visigoths - another invading tribe from the past.
Clearly, any general threat to pack us all into rusting rowing boats and send us round the Cape of St Vincent and into the Atlantic is just made to scare us, but it's certainly the case that the Britons living in France have it easier - they would only have to make their way to the port of Dunkerque.

Europats: Representation in Europe. 

1 comment:

Colin Davies said...

I fear we'll all be shipped in a very large boat to Cape Trafalgar and then sent to the bottom of the sea. Honest.