We’ve just returned from a jolly jaunt to southern Spain with a quick stop off in Portugal for good measure. It was so nice to be able to just drive 15 minutes up the road to our local airport and not have to endure a three hour trek just to get to Heathrow and Gatwick. British based airlines have particularly thrived in Europe, opening up a huge number of new routes from dozens of regional airports. Intense competition has seen prices kept incredibly low. Thank EU.
Is this the future for Britain? Brexit – a half baked ideology, promoted by half wit Nigel, voted for by half the population, most of whom did so half heartedly, half cocked negotiations, cheered on by a half-brained foreign secretary – and we’re not even quite half the way through the Article 50 timeframe. But do you want to know what really worries me? What should worry everybody, Remainer and Brexiter alike? The Conservative party has not a clue how to implement Brexit. Not a single clue. The front benches resort to waffle to desperately avoid anything of substance, fact or import for Continue reading
The Brexit talks have, once again and to no one’s surprise but the Brexiters, gone rather pear shaped. The problem, you see, are the ‘Red Lines’. This week, all those Red Lines met with Real World, and it didn’t go well. Almost everyone has at least one big Red Line in this debate. The Ultra Brexiters, lead by the likes of Rees-Mogg and Gove, have created a web of red lines with a spirograph, carefully ruling out any Continue reading
Fifteen years ago, I worked as a service station manager for Texaco. Technically I worked for Star Service Stations Ltd, a wholly owned subsiduary of Texaco. A lengthy name, no doubt part of a tax reduction scheme. Whatever. It was for the most part the devil’s own work and I spent the best part of a decade despising my job. But the pay was quite good, so I stuck around and despised it all the way up to 2005 when I eventually had had Continue reading
In light of recent events in the UK, I have decided that I must relocate this blog to a new abode. It is with a heavy heart that I make these changes but circumstance does rather dictate the future direction of anything, web sites included.
The website will be moved from servers based in the UK to new state of the art servers in Europe. Paris and Frankfurt are two options currently being examined. The domain Continue reading
It’s happened. The UK voters have blown a collective Union Jack flavoured raspberry to the European Union. I think it’s a sad day for Britain and for Europe. I’m a little bit less proud to be British. As far as I’m concerned, leaving the EU is a right wing, nationalist inspired campaign that has succeeded in duping the general public. With UKIP at it’s centre and a hard core of eurosceptic Tories for support. There are nationalist parties Continue reading
I was in the polling station early this morning. Before 9am. I have cast my vote, of course, for Remain. Now we just have to wait and see how everyone else voted. There are no exit polls, as per a General Election. The best indication will be a YouGov poll, conducted today. But the reality is, we’ll have to wait through the night. I’d like to stay up and watch it, but I’m not sure I’d make it through to 5 am or shortly after, when a result is likely to Continue reading
I received my polling card for the EU referendum this week. I am a registered voter and now have the piece of card to prove it. All I need do now is to look into the two sides of the debate and work out which offers the best future for the country. Where do I start my little investigation? Well, obviously one starts with Facebook. Where better to seek advice and guidance from my peers and contemporaries? Lots of people have clearly Continue reading
The official period of campaigning for the EU referendum has begun. Vote Remain and Vote Leave are setting out their positions – sort of – and it makes interesting reading. Vote Remain has the easier task as far as campaigning goes. You don’t have to work so hard to explain the status quo. Of course, their main strategy is to point out their perceived dangers of Brexit. Which is, by its very nature, nothing but speculation. Continue reading
Let’s see if we can put this in a nutshell. In the late 90s, Greece, with a little help from their German friends, fudged their books to get the drachma operating within the rules and regulations of the ERM and threw their lot in to join the Euro. They continued fudging their books right up to a few years back. The Great Recession struck and someone asked for a little something from the reserves, only to be told…oops….ain’t none. A big stack of debts, yes. Cash reserves? Not so much. Not to worry. They kept on spending the welfare, dodging their taxes and dreaming the European dream.
And Greece and the EU fudged the books again, breaking all sorts of rules and regulations, splashing the cash to try and keep Greece’s head above water. Alas, the floatation aid stopped Greece from ever reaching dry land. And here we are today. The Greeks have debts they can never pay off. The Germans have credit notes they can’t forgive. Forgiveness is for wars. The truth is, the Greeks should never have been in the Eurozone. Trying to keep them in it was simply throwing good money after bad. It turned out that a half-baked single currency shared by a multitude of independent and competing economies wasn’t such a good idea. Who knew? I guess all the other countries who have ever tried to share a currency and seen it fail.
So here we are. Pick an option. It’s lose, lose all round. There can be no winners. The only question is, does Europe seek an idealogical solution based on faux European unity and give the Greek’s their financial haircut? Or do they seek a common sense solution and let Greece go? Time will tell. Either option is expensive. Either way, pro-Euro supporters like myself are watching, weeping, and losing faith. It’s become an uncontrollable monster. The Eurozone area needs to federalise. The European Union needs complete reform, or risk losing supporters like myself to the sceptic side.
Are there any possible winners at all? Well, possibly. If Greece becomes Europe’s turkey and is sent to the slaughter house, could Turkey become Europe’s next hot entry? Whether this would be a good thing for the Turks or a bad thing is debatable. But they have previously expressed a desire to join in the fun. The only thing stopping them? The Greeks, with their Cypriotic grudge*. Who might not be around to say ‘oxi’ for that much longer…
- Of course, the Greek part of Cyprus will remain to be convinced…
The British passport has always been one of the better, if not the best, passport to be packing in your travel bag. Easier access to former colonial territories. Friendly relations with the US. And the benefits of being part of the EU. My British passport may not, one day in the future, be the one I want to use though. It’s an EU passport too, and as an EU citizen (for the moment…!) I actually have more rights. Even in Britain, as a British citizen. Us Brits have become second rate
citizens subjects in our own country. Why? Where shall I begin.
Mrs P came to the UK in the summer of 2011. The date is important. Had she arrived after July 2012, I would have needed to prove that I have an income in excess of £18,600. Like nearly half the UK population, that’s an income level I do not boast. In one swift stroke, nearly 50% of the UK population were forbidden from marrying a foreign person and living in Britain. You can do one, or the other. Not boast.
I understand the need to regulate immigration. Some of it is easily solved. Asylum seekers? Well, we could stop bombing other countries to smithereens. The ‘hordes’ of Eastern Europeans that ‘invaded’ the UK when Poland joined the EU? Well, perhaps we should have followed most of the rest of Europe and put a block on them. Although, quite frankly, I find the Poles to be a much nicer, harder working and integrated bunch than an awful lot of Brits. Illegal immigrants? We’re an island for goodness sake. We have it a tone easier than the rest of Europe. We just chose to be lax. Skilled foreign workers? I’m not aware that anyone’s claiming they are a problem.
And then there is Mrs P, and the tiny teeny fraction of immigrants in the UK who have married a British citizen. It was already ridiculous that we had to pay an extortionate £1000 for her initial visa. It’s outrageous that an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa is another £1000. And that a year after that it’s another £1000 for naturalization. There’s no justification for those sort of fees, especially given the absolutely awful level of service you get.
It’s a combination of knee jerk politics and a culture of ripping off anyone who finds themselves at the mercy of the state. If you are the citizen of a country and you wish to marry a foreign person, there should be a streamlined and sensibly priced procedure in place. Not barriers deliberately designed to keep families apart. Even as Mexico is moving away from an archaic immigration policy and towards a system designed to keep families together, the UK goes in the opposite direction.
But I am not just a British citizen, but also a European citizen. As such, I can move to any country in the EU and live and work there. The rest of Europe is more in tune with humanity. In Europe, I can bring my Mexican wife with me. There are treaties that are enshrined into law to give me this right. And there are laws to ensure my wife and I can move freely around Europe. If we wish to move from another European country to the UK, then the UK Border Agency cannot stop us. I just have to show I worked in that EU country for three months.
On arrival, she can get a five year Residence Card and legally work here. The cost? As far as I can see, the cost is entirely measured in time and patience. We could simply bypass the ridiculous, exorbitant and unfair processes of the UK Border Agency, and have a three month European adventure to boot. The biggest cost has already been paid. By the wonderful Surinder Singh. There always has to be a test case. For a test case, you need a person on the wrong end of an unfair law to stand up for himself and take on the state. Good for you Surinder! Does any of this matter to us? We are going back to Mexico, right? But who knows what the future holds…