Friday, 1 July 2016

Write to the lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen

I'm guessing that many UK nationals living and working in Europe right now are a bit worried about their future. Of course, everyone worries about their future but the Brexit referendum has just added one more to my personal list. Some would argue that UK nationals living and working in Europe probably moved abroad for a better job or for love or to enjoy the abundant winter sports or to devote their lives to reading Goethe auf Deutsch. These hypothetical arguers might think that our lives seem pretty peachy what with our careers, loved ones, ice skating skills and passion for poetry. They might tell us that we should try living in Scunthorpe. Well, this blog isn't aimed at those people. It's about how Brexit might royally f**k me and my plans over. Any readers from "Scunny" who voted out please do be offended if I tell you to f*& ... Nope, gotta calm down, breathe in, breathe out, and, finally, relax.  Readers from "Scunny" who voted out probably won't find this blog terribly interesting and I wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavours.

I live in Switzerland and have done for about 7 years. When I moved here Switzerland was a signatory to the EU-wide free movement of people. My rights to work and reside here, buy property or set up a business were no different from the ones I would have enjoyed across the French or German borders. I wouldn't have come otherwise. In February, 2014 the good people of Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera voted in the "Masseinwanderungsinitiative" referendum to place a limit on inward EU migration. The government has 3 years to implement a solution. Negotiations are ongoing with the EU about how this will be resolved. Perhaps I should have been worried about this but I wasn't. I expected a fudge. I expected both parties to be pragmatic, to kick the can down the road. The Brexit result now means that none of these ongoing Swiss/EU negotiations concern me at all. This is a concern. Moreover, I'm not expecting the UK/EU Brexit negotiations to be even-handed or pragmatic. I'm expecting to see UK politicians mugging for the camera, battling for "bulldog" Britain, digging their heels in with their eyes firmly on the the 2020 elections.  In the middle of all that drama I expect them to completely drop the ball on negotiations with Switzerland. Recent evidence suggests I should expect nothing at all from them.

In my last post I said I would blog about writing to my MP. I'm still registered to vote in Scotland so I wrote to the MP for my last postcode and pointed out that nobody seems to be thinking about changes to the rights of UK nationals in Switzerland. Pre-Brexit this was a concern of the EU but post-Brexit this is a concern for the UK government. The situation is complicated and likely of low priority to UK politicians. This topic will not win or lose elections. If you are in the same situation as me you might want to write to your MP too. I quite enjoyed composing the letter, particularly as I wrote it when I should have been working. I shouldn't encourage that kind of laziness and fecklessness in others but in my defence I was a bit bored at the time. I know, I know, that is no defence.

I have never written to an MP before. It does seem a bit of an "angry of Maidenhead" thing to do. This blog probably comes under that category as well. I definitely seem to be on a post-Brexit journey. But hopefully not to Scunthorpe. If the MP replies I shall post the gist of his response on this blog. Perhaps I am old-fashioned but publishing correspondence on the internet doesn't seem right to me. 

Unlike Rik of the Young Ones, I'm never going to write to the lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen. Get with it oldster, it is 2016.  Write to Drake.

Over and out,


PS My next post might be idle speculation about post-Brexit British politics. I know nothing about politics but that didn't stop Michael Gove or Boris Johnson making the leap from political journalist to parliamentarian.  Expect more of that kind of biting satire.

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