It’s all going horribly wrong

EXPATS: Should be given the right to vote as they were the first to take that ‘leap in the dark’.

THE political leaders have underestimated the ‘average Joe’

IN out, in out, shake it all about! Here we go again. More months of preening politicians spouting their views on every media outlet available. 

Once more their conflicting ideas will be shoved down our throats until most of us are heartily sick of them. I use the term ‘us’ loosely of course, because ‘us’ expats are excluded from the whole shebang. 

Surely we are some of the first who should be consulted? Are we not the pioneers of the whole experiment? Are we not the ones who took that ‘leap in the dark’ and decided to change countries and take our chances with the new ‘no border/equal rights’, that we were all promised EU membership would bring? 

Wasn’t this the ‘dream’ all those politicians led us to believe would be the epitome of ‘friendly integration’ and ‘economically living together as one’? Well of course it wasn’t. 

This whole exercise has been a power trip for pontificating politicians. None of the ‘leaders’ have been particularly interested in the well-being of the peasants, (except the UK, who have bent over so far to appease the immigrants, they have sacrificed the country). 

This was a scheme, instigated primarily by the Germans, to take over the whole of Europe with them at the helm (sound familiar?). This power addiction spread among Europe’s politicians quicker than a rampant junkie handing out free pipes in a den of opium. Bribes, promises, threats, instigations of envy; just about anything were used to cajole countries into joining the scheme. And now it’s all going horribly wrong. The peasants are revolting. 

In their usual arrogance, the political leaders have underestimated the ‘average Joe’. It is the people who have brought about this referendum. If Cameron had any sense he should jump at the chance of giving expats the vote. We are the ones with most to lose. He must be naïve, or simply stupid, to exclude the thousands who may swing the result in his favour.

Keep the faith. Love Leapy.

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    • Brian Eagleson

      25 February 2016 • 11:40

      Well done Leapy! Bet you never thought you’d see me write that, eh? The thing is I firmly believe in fairness, and credit where credit’s due – and you got it more or less spot-on this time.

      I think it’s a great shame and a huge mistake for the UK government to ban people like you, who have been living abroad for more than 15 years, from voting in this vitally important referendum – particularly those in the EU who will be most affected. Although I’ve only been here for 4 years I can sympathise because I was banned from voting in the Scottish in/out referendum (along with all other Scottish expats) even though I was allowed to vote in the UK general election. How does that work?

      This just goes to demonstrate how selective our UK leaders can be when they think it suits them. Once again of course Cameron has got it spectacularly wrong as you have pointed out in your column. He has the power and majority in Parliament to change the law if he so wishes. So why doesn’t he? I believe he doesn’t really care and is just kidding us on. He has already announced he will not be standing for re-election. He can look forward to his PM’s pension, a knighthood, a seat in the House of Lords and the after-dinner speech circuit. He will be a very wealthy man.

      I rest my case m’lud.

    • Kally

      27 February 2016 • 02:24

      Excellent column, Leapy. This has to go down in history as the first of your columns I’ve ever agreed with, but agree with it I most certainly do. I’m fortunate that I’ll only have been out of the UK 13-and-a-half years by the referendum date…but, there but for the grace of God, etc. And those of us who CAN vote will not get the support of those who can’t. Yer average Joe Public doesn’t understand what the EU does, and doesn’t, do for UK citizens and the country’s non-British residents. I firmly believe that, although democracy is essential as a human right, there are issues which should not be left in the hands of the general public. Most don’t have either the specialist knowledge, or the first-hand experience, needed to make an informed decision, and few realise how much the UK tabloids are spreading falsehoods or, at least, exaggerations that border on (and sometimes enter the territory of) unethical…nor who actually owns and controls said tabloids. And there’s no democracy in those who would be the MOST affected being denied a vote; which includes EU nationals living in the UK as well as us expats in the EU. Smacks of the situation that had the likes of Our Emily chaining herself to railings and leaping under horses.
      But…ohhh, Graham, you couldn’t resist the line about immigrants in the UK, could you…don’t forget immigration there is no higher (actually lower) than in most of Europe, and none of those countries have ‘lost their identity’. Most of us foreigners blend into the background.

    • Kally

      27 February 2016 • 02:44

      Briefly on the bit about the UK being ‘sacrificed to immigrants’, it’s actually not as ‘overrun with foreigners’ as many think. London and Leicester are very cosmopolitan, but their residents are statistically the least likely to show xenophobic sentiments.
      My family is based in East Anglia, which makes up roughly a sixth to an eighth of England’s land mass. I know there’s an Italian woman working in Asda and a Polish couple living next door to my mother, and a county away, two young Spaniards working in the café in Marks & Sparks. Beyond that, it’s boringly English. I keep asking my dad where the foreigners we hear of hang out. (“No, dad; I don’t mean people from Sidcup or St Albans. You know, those who had to catch a plane to get here. What, me…? Oh, never mind…”) In Suffolk, an ‘immigrant’ is someone from Essex. Even my dad’s local Indian and Chinese are run by Brits. Not third-generation Indian and Chinese-descended Brits, but those who can trace their English ancestry back to Cromwell’s time. It’s quite weird visiting the family for that reason, given that the crumbling rural market town in Spain I live in is home to over 80 nationalities and I hear five languages on the street just walking to the supermarket. (Six if I talk to myself). I prefer life here for that very reason; far more interesting, culturally.
      As for Cameron, he had the perfect chance to iron out problems all nations have with the EU, and blew it. Like cutting MEP expenses and bureaucracy, improving workers’ rights, more flexibility…

    • Colin Fox

      27 February 2016 • 10:41

      Apparently, if you have lived abroad less than fifteen years, you can vote in the referendum.

    • Ian Terry

      27 February 2016 • 16:46

      Well done Leapy.
      Unfortunately most of our UK politicians are prats. You refer to them as our leaders when most of them couldn’t lead a poodle.
      I love riding my bicycle but having worked in London I have to wonder what sort of clown would encourage people to risk the traffic and fumes by cycling there. I certainly would not do it.
      If this is an example of our leaders then it will be a long time before any politician has any credibility in my eyes.

    • Robin

      28 February 2016 • 10:41

      Sorry Leapy, very rarely you get it wrong, but this time you did. You and all the other expats abandoned the UK in search of better climes so why should you have a say/vote in it future. You can’t have it every way. Same as you shouldn’t expect to get the winter heating allowance

    • DS

      28 February 2016 • 14:03

      Cameron will sacrifice our sovereignty to get his nose in that fabulous trough in Brussels…he´ll do whatever the monster Merkel tells him to do.

    • Ian Terry

      29 February 2016 • 08:32

      no Robin it’s you who has got it wrong. Most of us have hard and paid our taxes etc.
      In fact I am still paying UK tax even though retired
      Also I am an ex serviceman who would never abandon my country.
      Like many others I am here to improve my quality of life during my retirement.
      Oh! And the health care here is far superior as the government here is not trying to run the health service in to the ground.

    • Brian Eagleson

      29 February 2016 • 09:54

      Hey if we all go back to Blighty in June all those OTHER migrants would find plenty of room here in Spain. What fun that would be for the Spanish authorities!

      Just joking – I think…

    • Kally

      02 March 2016 • 21:17

      Not everyone left the UK for the weather, Robin. My first choice was Paris (similar climate to East Anglia) but I couldn’t get a job. I chose Spain because I spoke the language; could just as easily have been Denmark if I’d studied harder and waited longer. The point is, we were encouraged to make use of the ‘free movement’ thing to broaden our horizons. I never suspected my EU citizenship might be wrenched from under me. Why would I? I wasn’t BORN when the UK joined the EU. I went off on a gap year to improve my language competence and experience living and working in another culture; it sort of became a gap decade-and-a-third (and counting) with a mortgage, cats, job and friends without my noticing. Mainly because my ex-wife (rightly) convinced me I’d get more for my money if I sold my UK matchbox and bought a whopping apartment in Spain. OK, I haven’t paid much into the UK system; for that reason I don’t vote in UK elections (although if I can, I might as well; why waste a voice? But I’d ask my family whom to vote for). Most pensioners here DO pay taxes to the UK and have done for 30-40 years+. The EU referendum, though, is a different story: it affects us as Brits abroad far more than it affects those living in the UK (other than EU nationals in the UK, who can’t vote either). We haven’t ‘abandoned’ the mother country, either; Brits abroad are great ambassadors. They celebrate St George’s and invite all the local Spaniards, for example. Who celebrates it in the UK? Few, I bet.

    • Brian Eagleson

      03 March 2016 • 13:56

      Brilliant contribution Kally. The bit about not being born when the UK joined the EU should make a few more of us ‘oldies’ sit up and think a bit harder about our preconceptions. Also your bit about how, if Britain leaves, it “affects us as Brits abroad far more than it affects those living in the UK (other than EU nationals in the UK, who can’t vote either)” is spot-on.

      The thing is if we quit the EU, British politicians will still do whatever they do INSIDE the UK for ever and a day, but we expats will be left with NO British representation OUTSIDE. They will all have gone home, pulled up the drawbridge, and shut us out at the mercy of Brussels which will then have even more unrestricted influence over here than it has already! Britain would have no influence at all. What a thought.

      Any expats with the ability to vote who want Britain to leave the EU need to consider the full implications of how that would impact on them here in Spain. Many, judging by their comments, clearly have not considered that. Even those who lived here before the EU was created do not seem to appreciate how much the world has changed, and will continue to change, since those far-off days of wilful nostalgia.

      And finally, the people who often end up worst-affected after a divorce are the children. Is anyone else here thinking about them?

    • Kally

      04 March 2016 • 05:50

      Excellent analogy with marriage and divorce, Brian. It’s exactly like a 41-year marriage which is in trouble; we’re not talking domestic violence or infidelity, but one party is not happy in the relationship. Do you get out, with no idea what your future will be? Having not tried life alone since your 20s, and you’re now in your 60s? Or do you try to work it out first? Cameron’s attempt to save the marriage has been the equivalent of asking my wife to stop plundering my make-up bag and to remember to put the top back on the toothpaste. It doesn’t centre on the issues that go right to the core of the problems with the EU. And before you leave the 41-year marriage, if you still have dependent children, you work out a safe plan for THEIR future, with their agreement, and guarantee it, before you take the big leap.
      I’ve yet to see a clear picture of this garden of roses the UK is supposed to be post-Brexit. Plenty of negatives about the EU keep coming from the pro-outers (mostly unsubstantiated. The UK DOES influence EU laws and has relative freedom on how to apply certain directives, and complete autonomy in many areas. UK borders are hermetically-sealed already. No other EU State has lost its cultural identity. Efforts have been made to cut the UK’s financial contributions anyway, but the crucial bit is: what do you get in return? An awful lot, actually). But where are your POSITIVE arguments for a Brexit, you who want out? Back it up with facts, too, please. Not just grumbling about foreigners.

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