Our very own #Bremainernow

Our very own #Bremainernow

Brennon and Jamieson Robbinsleigh

Sorry seems to be the hardest word.

I suppose you could say I’m one of the first millennials being born in 1980 but my background and upbringing was far from progressive or new age, with strong old school working class roots and a service personnel family I was all too familiar with what I now call the “Rule Britannia” doctrine. 

Neither did I ever live in an area where I had an opportunity to mix with people of different ethnicities or cultures, but that didn’t stop everyone within my circles from being an expert on immigration.  When austerity really started to bite with schools, hospitals and housing waiting lists all falling into terminal decline, those messages I would hear in those same circles and the media really sunk into my subconscious, if you had asked me then I would have been unmovable on the opinion that all the fault lied with immigration, – that immigrants were taking our hospital beds, welfare cheques and council flats. 

Then the EU referendum came around, and I was prime candidacy ready for the bait of the whole Vote Leave and Farage’s narrative of take back control.  We all know the scripted lies by now; close the borders, the bus, Turkey joining, the easiest deal in history, etc., etc.  But I fell for it, I voted to leave proudly feeling like I was doing my country a service.

Then something happened to me.  This passion that was stirred in me grew and in the ensuing months after the referendum I started taking a real interest and asking myself more and more questions.  The months went on and it slowly started to dawn on me; I got it wrong, – really wrong. 

I have learnt so much about the workings of the EU and economic globalisation and the more I learnt the more the EU made sense to me.  My hostility just ebbed away as I learnt that they are not our enemies and cooperation is always better than competing individual self interests – coming together as 28 neighbouring nations on areas we agree upon only is a no brainer, isn’t it?  I don’t remember during the campaign anybody saying that 95% of the time we agreed with whatever new EU regulation was coming into force and most of the time the U.K. was front and centre architects to it. 

And little did I realise then how EU immigrants were making an invaluable contribution to our society and economy, enriching our cosmopolitan cultures with new foods, fashions, ideas and designs.  That EU immigrants pay more into the NI system than they take out.  That they are doing so many of the lowest paid and hardest jobs we refuse to do ourselves – caring for our sick and elderly, picking our fruit, waiting our tables or cleaning our hotel rooms. 

I also learnt that the vast majority of the media is right wing propaganda where the sheer scale of deliberate misrepresentation about the EU and immigration is genuinely shocking and an abuse of the freedom of speech they enjoy. 

I also met my husband a year after the referendum, who was planning to move to Spain at the time.  He was an undecided floating voter who reluctantly voted leave but who is now a staunch fan of the EU.  We finally made that move just this year and living here for 10 months has only validated further my journey from a leaver to a remainer.  Seeing first hand people from all EU countries mingling together in unison is truly joyful to witness. 

My husband uses a fire extinguisher analogy to explain the U.K. take on the EU.  And it is this.  The EU might decide that all fire extinguishers have to be bright yellow with pink stars.  Those on the leave side we decry with outrage how dare the EU dictate what colour our extinguishers should be.  Those on the remain side we say how wonderful it is that 28 countries can come together like this and agree on adopting something universally so that they are visibly the same to anyone everywhere. 

I take the latter view now.  So I am sorry for my vote, I’m sorry I didn’t know more then and I hope I can make it right somehow.

Brennon Robinsleigh from Kent now lives in Altea

Sue Wilson Writes: If Brexit is the ‘will of the people’ then let’s test it

Sue Wilson Writes: If Brexit is the ‘will of the people’ then let’s test it

#FinalSayMany British citizens from Spain joined over a million marchers at the #PeoplesVote rally: a day of solidarity, strength, good humour and determination. A day we will proudly recall, in years to come, with the words “I was there”.

For those of us fighting to stay in the EU, it will be remembered as another significant day in which the prime minister, Boris Johnson, was prevented by parliament from rushing through his damaging Brexit deal.

On Thursday October 17th, at the EU summit, Johnson unexpectedly agreed terms for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The shock of the 11th hour agreement was followed by news that parliament would vote on the deal on “Super Saturday”, with a view to leaving the EU on October 31st, should it pass. The votes were too close to call as to whether the deal would pass.

Thanks to an ingeniously simple but effective amendment by Sir Oliver Letwin, Johnson withdrew the planned vote on the deal. The Letwin amendment, described as an insurance policy to prevent a last minute “accidental” no deal, passed by a majority of 16.

The news of this monumental defeat for the government was greeted with huge cheers from the crowds in Parliament Square. With the result of this vote, and because of the Benn Act, Johnson would be forced to write to the EU requesting an extension.

Read full article in The Local

 

For Brits living in Europe, Brexit throws a once clear future into doubt

For Brits living in Europe, Brexit throws a once clear future into doubt

A couple of years ago, Teresa and Kim Sawdy moved from England to Spain to take an early retirement.

Drawn by the beautiful nature, welcoming population, quality of life, and lower costs, they bought an apartment in this sun-kissed town on Spain’s southern coast. Ms. Sawdy first volunteered at a local dog shelter and today teaches English as a foreign language; Mr. Sawdy enjoys his free time.

But like many other Britons living in Europe, the couple say their lives have gotten more difficult because of the fallout over Brexit. They say that with the administrative hurdles they are encountering, it feels as if Brexit had already happened.

Now Mr. Sawdy worries he could have to go back to work, and Ms. Sawdy says she doubts she will “ever get a pension from England.”

From small seaside villages on the coast of Spain, where older British expatriates have found a sunny slice of paradise to retire, to larger cities where younger ones have found a viable professional base, to the European Union more broadly, Brexit and its implications are viewed with genuine concern, if not always great clarity.

Uncertain rights and protections

With the United Kingdom scheduled to leave the EU on Oct. 31, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU negotiators agreed Thursday upon a last-ditch deal on the terms for Brexit. But Parliament still must approve the deal in an extraordinary session on Saturday, and the prospects for success remain uncertain. Should the vote fail, Mr. Johnson would be obliged under the law to seek an extension from the EU – something he has said he would obey, while also promising that the U.K. would leave the EU on Oct. 31 no matter what.

Full story in The Christian Science Monitor

 

Brits in Spain get ready for Brexit, with one eye on the UK’s new deal with Brussels

Brits in Spain get ready for Brexit, with one eye on the UK’s new deal with Brussels

The announcement on Thursday of a last-minute deal between the UK and the EU came as many British residents in Spain rushed to complete their paperwork to prepare for Brexit.

The images of Boris Johnson’s handshakes with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other EU leaders in Brussels do not mean that British residents in Spain can stop fearing a no-deal exit.

As Sue Wilson, chair of the organisation Bremain in Spain, points out, the deal still has to be passed by parliament. “The only way this will gain support in Westminster is if it is attached to a confirmatory referendum,” she said.

The president of the Costa del Sol-based organisation Brexpats in Spain, Anne Hernández, also expressed her doubts that Boris Johnson would get the support of MPs to pass his deal onSaturday.

Protecting the rights of British residents in Spain is the principal objective of Hernández’s organisation and she pointed out that the part of the new deal related to citizens’ rights has not changed since Theresa May’s deal.

“So we are at least mentioned and to some degree covered but quite how covered I am yet to see,” Hernández told SUR inEnglish on Thursday.

Meanwhile Brexpats representatives are on their way to 10 Downing Street to hand in their petition to demand that citizens’ rights be ring-fenced ad infinitum, regardless of whether the deal gets through or not.

“We moved here understanding the Ts & Cs and now they are all changed. To say pensioners access here to healthcare can only be guaranteed until 31 December 2020 is cruel; many elderly, lonely, confused and infirm are worried sick,” Hernández said.

Full article in The Sur

 

 

 

La colonia británica en España pisa el acelerador para empadronarse

La colonia británica en España pisa el acelerador para empadronarse

El Brexit ha unido a los casi 400.000 británicos (entre oficiales y no empadronados) que viven en España. Desde que su país aprobó salir de la Unión Europea, en junio de 2016, todos comparten un mismo sentimiento. Ninguno de ellos sabe lo que les va a ocurrir y eso ya es un punto en común que borra cualquier diferencia. «Todos los días nos levantamos pendientes de los periódicos y esperando información del consulado», explica Karen Cowles, presidenta de la Asociación de Comerciantes Británicos de Benidorm.

Las noticias que llegan de Reino Unido no aclaran mucho sus dudas. El Gobierno británico y Bruselas están tratando de alcanzar a marchas forzadas un acuerdo que debería estar cerrado el próximo día 17, fecha en la que el Consejo Europeo dará por concluido el plazo de negociaciones. A partir de ahí, la oposición obligará al Ejecutivo de Boris Johnson a pedir a Bruselas que amplíe la fecha límite de salida de la UE y forzará así la convocatoria de elecciones. Para complicar la situación, el primer ministro mantiene su promesa de sacar al país de la Unión Europea el día 31 con acuerdo o sin él.

Esta es la información que amarga todos los días el desayuno de la abundante colonia británica en España. Vive sumida en una sensación de incertidumbre que no hace sino aumentar a medida que pasan los días. No saben qué será de ellos ni cómo cambiará sus vidas cuando termine octubre. «Se desconoce cómo serán los términos del acuerdo, si es que lo hay», resume Ricardo Bocanegra, abogado marbellí experto en extranjería. Salvo esperar, solo pueden hacer una cosa: empadronarse en los municipios donde residen.

leer más en El Dario Vasco

 

‘This is an exciting time’, UK minister tells Brits in Spain as Brexit looms

‘This is an exciting time’, UK minister tells Brits in Spain as Brexit looms

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has written an open letter to anxious Brits in Spain telling them that “this is an exciting time” as he urges them to prepare for Brexit.

Dominic Raab has penned a letter to UK nationals in Spain in which he tells them how they should be preparing for Brexit as the UK government gets ready to deliver the “will of the British people” on October 31. 

His letter reads like a set of demands for Brits in Spain – “you’ll need”, “you must”, “you should” – in return for only vague promises about UK nationals’ rights in their host country post-2020. 

Although Raab assures his target audience that in the event of a no-deal Brexit they will continue to have access to healthcare in Spain “exactly as you do now, until at least 31 December 2020 if you are an S1 form holder”, there is no mention of the worry and anxiety that’s been caused to them over the past three years, or what is likely to happen to their healthcare after that date. 

Instead the UK Foreign Secretary repeats much of what’s already been announced by the British Embassy in Spain, choosing to round off his impersonal letter by saying

“This is an exciting time, but also one of unprecedented change”. 

“We’re getting ready for Brexit on 31 October, and I would urge you to do the same”.

Sue Wilson of Bremain in Spain has responded to Raab’s tactless comments by telling The Local: “Brexiter Raab might think this an exciting time, but I can assure you, we do not!

“More appropriate adjectives to describe our assessment of the current state of play would be “terrifying” or “unsettling”. Promising that our rights and benefits are protected for a limited period does not provide reassurance. Rather, it has Brits in Spain worrying what will happen when that period expires?

“Those hoping for a deal, any deal, to get us out of this awful limbo, are now starting to realise that even a Brexit deal will not see the end of this awful uncertainty”.

Raab even found the time to praise the “the largest information campaign in British history” – the Get Ready for Brexit  campaign – as if to imply that this was of importance or helpful for UK nationals in Spain who still don’t know what their future holds.

Read Dominic Raab’s full letter in The Local