Bremain in Spain chair slams UK media for stereotyping Brit expats

Bremain in Spain chair slams UK media for stereotyping Brit expats

Whilst it’s a positive development that UK media outlets are now publicising the plight of British expats in Spain, it’s counterproductive in its use of hated stereotypes.

As the Brexit disaster rolls on, British newspapers are finally waking up to the unavoidable fact that hundreds of thousands of UK expatriates are about to be left with shattered dreams and not much else. However, the media’s use of tired old stereotypes is preventing the real message from getting through, causing even more pain, anger and desperation across Spain’s expat communities. A recent article by Sue Wilson, chair of Bremain in Spain, urges the media to tell it like it is rather than sensationally colouring the bleak picture simply to get more readers.

Ever since the referendum result was announced and its threat to Britons retiring in EU member states became clear, the UK government’s claim that its citizens’ rights would be protected as a priority hasn’t held up to even the most casual scrutiny. Citizens’ rights groups have tirelessly worked to support and protect expat interests, whilst British lawmakers are trying equally hard to deliberately limit protestors’ impact. As a result, British expats in Spain have come to the conclusion that their concerns are irrelevant at best and not worth noting at worst. At the same time, May’s policies towards EU expatriates in the UK have been conciliatory, making British citizens overseas feel they’re now totally disregarded.

Full story in Expats Blog

Sue Wilson Writes: The Brexit media coverage of British immigrants in Spain reinforces hated stereotypes

Sue Wilson Writes: The Brexit media coverage of British immigrants in Spain reinforces hated stereotypes

Throughout the entire Brexit debacle, a common complaint from Brits living in Spain is that we’re not being seen or heard.

Despite the UK government claiming that citizens’ rights would be its “number one priority” in the Brexit negotiations, we haven’t seen much evidence of this happening.

Citizens’ rights groups have worked tirelessly to protect our interests but have received limited engagement with the UK government. Unsurprisingly, many Brits in Spain feel that they’re invisible, and that their concerns are considered irrelevant.

Until recently, the UK media has taken little interest in our plight. When interest has been shown, we haven’t always been happy with the results.

Whether it’s the terminology used, the locations and candidates chosen for interviews, or the oft-repeated accompanying photographs sourced from media image libraries, most press coverage has reinforced the stereotypes so hated by most.

Let’s start with the “e” word – most of the Brits I know hate to be called “expats”.

The term comes with such negative connotations. It implies that we are different: better than other immigrants (foreign ones, that is!), simply because we’re British and, therefore, superior to everyone else.

Please call us what we are – immigrants, migrants – and don’t differentiate us from EU citizens living in the UK. We’re all in the same boat, although our crew is friendlier and the weather milder here.

Another media depiction I find annoying and inaccurate is that we’re all pensioners living the life of Riley on a ‘costa’, sipping gin and tonic on a sun-kissed beach.

Well, I confess I am a pensioner and I do live on a ‘costa’, so in that respect, I am a stereotype, but I hate gin and haven’t been on a beach in three years!

Read Sue’s full article in The Local